IT'S ALL GOOD
by Scott B. Carpenter
The other day I heard a man quote a friend of his. "As my friend always says, 'It's All Good!' " Not being able to see his face, I'm sure he was wearing a big smile. I wasn't.
It's amazing how one phrase can stir up totally, opposite feelings in two different people. You see, I also had a very dear friend of mine who would often quote this phrase. However, this particular person ended up deeply hurting and even scarring our family for many years. We are still picking up the pieces. Maybe... forever in one way or another. The pain that can be inflicted by others can be so deeply engrained into the fabric of our lives that it appears all the pieces can never be retrieved. "It's NOT all Good."
No, I have not forgotten Romans 8:28 - "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." This is the very first Bible verse I ever memorized as a child. God has seen to it that I have had many opportunities through the years to understand its meaning. And what I have discerned is that there is a BIG difference between man's phrase "Its All Good", and the Biblical phrase "things work together for good". And, no, we are not just dealing with semantics here. One is a true phrase, and the other is not.
Another well-meaning Christian young man, just one day prior, quoted to me yet another trite Christian phrase when I asked him how he was doing... really. "Too Blessed to be Stressed!" he answered. Now, I happened to know what he was facing ahead. It was, indeed, stressful, grueling, and even contained the potential for fear. I appreciate the fact that he didn't want to complain or to appear to be lacking in faith, but I didn't appreciate, as his friend, the holy facade, and I told him so. I told him that it's okay to be stressed, or afraid. It's okay to go to God and tell Him how you feel. He knows anyway. It's okay to tell your family and friends you're hurting or scared and need their prayers. He thanked me. I'm blessed that he's my friend, because I need his encouragement and prayers too. I can be blessed and, at the same time... stressed.
The fact is, God intends for all of us to face stress. Sometimes LOTS of stress. You see, sometimes our humanity is no match for the overwhelming odds we face. It is in those times that we are driven to our knees, and we cry out to our omnipotent God for help. Suffering brings humility. And for that reason, God wants us to feel every ounce of that stress. Do you understand? We can enjoy the blessings of life, but we may still have to face the reality of a very, stress-filled situation. Blessings will not "come to the rescue"; blessings DO NOT necessarily cancel out stress.
Again, the statement is not true, and it sets up other Christians with unrealistic expectations of a life with God. We are not doing anyone any favors by quoting it. Impressing a few?... perhaps, with our "apparent" positive spirituality. We can enjoy the mountaintop experiences of life when God chooses to place us there, but let us be wary of desiring to appear, to others, as always living there. Why should we always want to appear to "have it all together"?... Always. This practice could be a manifestation of pride. And we know how God feels about that... don't we?
Rather than propagating untrue, trite phrases to impress our listeners, we would do better to praise our heavenly Father above for His love, for His grace, for His wisdom, and for His peace in the midst of our day - be it stress-filled, truly blessed, or... both!