God is SO good!
In many places in Africa, the pastor will call out to his congregation on Sunday morning with the greeting, "God is good!" The congregation will reply, "All the time!" The pastor will then rejoin with, "All the time!" and the congregation will finish this oral tradition by replying, "God is good!" I love this tradition and always smile when a visiting pastor will try it here in the States.
In Africa, they are joyously calling out this truth amidst poverty, crime, war, danger, disease, and hardship. These church members often suffer in ways we only hear about and they are shouting out the affirmation of God's goodness in a church building that often consists of four poles holding up the roof under which they sit - if that. But still they affirm this basic fact - God is good! And today, in the midst of difficulty, hardship, breaking hearts, uncertainty about the future, illness, and the vast amount of issues I know many are going through, I, too, want to affirm this fact. God is SO very good.
He is kind and loving, trustworthy and caring. He is infinitely compassionate. He holds us up, walks with us, feels our pain, understands our hurt, knows the joys He will bestow upon us, has a plan for our lives, and constantly works in our hearts and lives to make us more like Him. Though we may not always be able to "see" where He is in a given situation, He is always there and will never depart. Even when - and maybe I should say especially when - the only thing we can cry out is "Lord, help!" He graciously hears and responds. Through all of life's trials, through the well known "stormy blast," He unceasingly stands strong as our rock and shelter, He unwaveringly holds His shepherd's staff to see that we do not stray and wander, and unendingly showers his love and grace and mercy upon us as we walk on. Life may be difficult, but God is good. All the time.