Great vs. good

God is great.
God is good.
Let us thank Him
For this food.
.. amen


Although my family believed in extemporaneous prayer even for our meal blessings, I must have mindlessly rattled off these words many times.

But now, I wonder… what about that God is good line? Was it to reinforce His greatness? or to keep it rhythmic? or find something that marginally rhymed with food?

I don’t know… But most of the time, great and good are used as comparative words, like She is a good cook vs. She is a great cook. (We all choose the great one.)

But as I consider these two words more critically, I see each one describing God in its own unique way.

I believe in the miraculous creation of the world described in Genesis. It doesn’t matter to me what the timing was or how He made things, how He came up with the idea of the platypus or mosquito or cockroach, or what He considered a day.

I just believe that God is great enough to create the entire universe from nothingness. He can part the sea and make it rain locusts. He can crumble the walls of Jericho and guide the stone from David’s sling smack dab into that giant’s forehead. He can stand in the furnace and keep the flames away, cause the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the prison chains to fall from the wrists and ankles of the saints.

He can cut the red tape so the refund check shows up just in time. He can send a complete stranger to break the baby’s fall. He can take away one job because the next one is better. He can remove the tumor.

I believe every bit of it. I haven’t seen all of it, but I have no doubt that our great God can do whatever he d@mn well pleases anytime He pleases, for and with whomever He pleases.

But today His goodness is what I need.

Not a watered down, second rate greatness. Not a smaller request because I have smaller needs. Not less than great.

No, my lovelies. Today I look for goodness. I think of how He left the ninety-nine to find the one lost sheep. He understood the sacrifice of the widow’s mite – when all around were the riches of the powerful – and cherished the broken alabaster jar of perfume. He welcomed little children and saved the daughter of Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue in Galilee.

He loves as a mother comforts her children, He “shows no partiality to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of his hands.”

God’s goodness is not less than His greatness. He didn’t have to try harder to create the world than He does to keep His eye on the sparrow. Just as God is sovereign, all knowing, ever present, merciful, and faithful, His goodness stands alone as one of His holy attributes.

I cannot explain the darkness of disease or poverty or chaos or abuse. My only answer to the hard questions is the puniest There is evil in the world.

What I do know is this:
He is good.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    Great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24

So often, when my heart is too heavy, I don’t seek the strength of God to lift it or fix it or take the burden away. I don’t need lightning bolts or powerful healing, walls knocked down or chains broken.

All I need is the faithfulness and loving goodness of God.

How about you?

Photo by Doug Maloney on Unsplash

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