Discovering the goodness of God at the Cross

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At the end of sung worship last week we sang “Ten Thousand Reasons” and then there was opportunity for people to give testimony of God’s blessing even through COVID. It was a moving time and Rich sensitively closed it out with the refrain of another song

“Cause all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God”

It was difficult to hold it together, I’m sure there were very few dry eyes in the congregation. For me, that song has been the constant mood music through a challenging two years.  Whenever I’m tempted to look inward or to complain I’m reminded again and again of those words sung by people who have suffered far, far more than me.  It’s not cheep prosperity gospel or stiff upper lip stoicism that causes us to sing those words. It’s knowing God’s closeness and care in the darkest of times.

The other day I found this version by Shane and Shane.

In the middle Shane (or possibly Shane, I don’t know which is which) says this:

“There is not a moment when His mercy won’t  be a banner over our life. It’s so confusing when cancer hits. It’s confusing when our job goes away. But we can cling to that. He is good. He has cleansed you from your sin with his blood. And his goodness and mercy is like a hound of heaven running after you today.”

Shane and Shane

I’m thankful for those words because if there is one thing missing from the song lyrics it is an explicit reference to the Cross. I think it’s implicit in the description of mercy that runs after us but I would have loved it to talk more openly about Christ’s death and resurrection. I suspect that whilst it’s okay for Chris Tomlin to stick extra choruses into old hymns that adding verses to new songs is more frowned upon by copywrite laws but if we are/were allowed, I’d probably add something like this.

I love your cross

Where you suffered there for me

And in its shadow I find rest and peace

When I pass through death’s dark valley

Still I will be secure

And I will hope in the goodness of God

You see the heart of God’s goodness is found at Calvary. Yes, we have learnt to trust God through suffering and trials but it is not that God waves a magic wand and takes us out of those situations. Rather, it is that those trials remind us that suffering and even death are no longer penal.  Christ has suffered for me. I don’t need to be battered by the storms of life into believing that God is against me, hates me, resents me, is punishing me. I have peace with God and know that he is using these trials for my good and his glory (See Romans 5). 

So, whatever may lie ahead, let’s keep singing of the goodness of God, let’s tell of his mercies and let’s remember that his love, mercy and goodness are found in the Gospel.