I’m not sure what started this train of thought. We know Jesus statement to the rich young ruler, no-one is good but God alone, and we know the verse from James 1:17, every good and perfect gift is from above. But I think it was as I considered simply the beauty of a single lawn flower as I walked to my car after work.
Why is such beauty to be seen, even on an ordinary day of lockdown, on the humble grass that we walk over?
I was reminded me of the verse from Ecclesiastes, that God makes everything beautiful in it’s time.
So here is a small simple yellow flower, with its circle of petals glistening on a moist cool, early spring day. Beauty even in the lawn. Something I would normally walk over.
But then I thought of the multitude of blades of grass beneath the flower, all forming a green carpet, insignificant compared to the dazzling yellow of the little flower.
Yes, God cares also for the grass, and the dirt beneath the grass and the worms beneath the dirt and so-on. At every layer there is creation, God’s good creation, bursting with tiny details of God’s genius. And not simply his genius, but his goodness, because his creation is both functional and beautiful.
And this goodness and functionality are simply a reflection of God’s deep goodness.
But to appreciate God’s goodness, we must be rescued from our guilty anger.
I have watched my children behave (as I have also) in anger, eating a beautiful meal without an ounce of gratitude, for those who prepared and provided it.
That is how it can be with us when we have no desire for God himself.
We can experience the benefits of creation without gratitude.
I think I am quoting from Romans when I say that.
(NIV) For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him.
Yet God cares for all of us, saint and sinner alike, making his rain fall on all who have need, believers, and non-believers.
You see, to start to appreciate God’s goodness, we need to be in a positive relationship with him.
But our sinfulness puts a barrier up. We do not want to relate to someone whom we have failed, time and again. Someone whom we have potentially offended, someone, who we possibly offend repeatedly, although we have tried not to, or someone we blame for all the problems in our lives, or someone we quietly think is punishing us continually, and unfairly for all the “tiny” things we did some time ago.
Even as believers, how often do we fall back into old sins?
But if we are somehow removed from our sins, separated from them in such a way that they no longer have moral consequences for us, freedom without bounds, freedom to try and live a godly life, (which is what Jesus did for us on the cross), then, with our lives comforted by the wonderful grace of God, we see God in a new light. We see his goodness on so many levels.
In fact the deeper we look, the more goodness we find, in every detail that he has planned in our lives, our family, our friends, our spouses, our children, our place to live, the jobs he provides, the opportunity to express our gifts, and the wonderful creation he surrounds us with, in front, behind, above , below, we are hemmed in by his goodness.
Psalms 139:5-6 (NIV) 5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
And his goodness is worthy of our praise.
God does not need our praise. He is not a like a fearful, insecure dictator needing his subjects to lavish continual lip service in order to prevent the reality of fallen ugliness from taking hold.
God is independently good at every level, and all who behold him can only cry ‘Holy, Holy, Holy.” Because truly, that is how he is.
But he is also truly good, in the moral and kind and loving way.
He is so good that he does not overlook his fallen creation, but rather subjects it to necessary temporary frustration, as his plan for full restoration is fulfilled.
And his plan is to send his most precious son, Jesus, as a propitiation.