This post is more for me than anyone else. God is good and I know that. I can't claim that because I have seen a lot of answers to my prayers. Usually situations do not end the way I want. For some reason, I have and always will most likely be "unlucky" Dont be confused by this term though, I am blessed - I have many good things, but I am unlucky (although I technically dont believe in luck) -- I am unlucky in small ways - little things always fall apart and happen.
I was stuck in europe during the volcano and lost a week's worth of salary -- my dad said, wow Katy, you really do have a black cloud over your head. It's small things.
So, I have seen a lot of bad luck in my life. My life seems not to go as easily as others and a lot of dissapointments occur. But I am richly blessed- job, family, friends, a church, etc, etc... So please don't confuse my claim of unluckiness with a lack of gratefulness with the blessings I did not even ask for that I have received.
So, God is good. and not because he answers my prayers - but because when I look back, I see how He walks me through each battle. God is good because He has the power to answer my prayers and maybe one day I will be proclaiming how He did. But even if He doesn't, I know I am praying to someone with the power and strength to do so. God is good because even His no's are used to bring Glory to his name through me. God is good because he gives us things we never asked for -- friends, family, grace for each day. God is good because He knows what I need.
All this to say, God is good - and deep down I know that although I don't live it all the time and I certainly don't feel it.
But saying "God is good, simply trust Him" is something that must be said kindly and by the right person. I honestly think that this is the most improperly used phrase in modern Christianity. If two women were pregnant together and one woman lost her child, the woman who still had a healthy baby can be comforting and say I hope we soon see the Lord's power in this situation and how can I care for you, etc etc etc. But hearing her say "God is good. This is His purpose" falls on deaf ears. Of course you say He is good, He has been clearly and very wonderfully good to you.
I recently used a heartache from years ago to comfort a girl from my church. And although I can't look back and know God's plan for why this particular hardship happened for me and for her, I do know that God intended me to be the comforter for her. He commands us in His word to comfort others just as he has comforted us. Someone who had not been through the same trial could not have provided comfort. Hearing the words "God is good, trust Him" would have seemed arrogant and unencouraging.
This has (obviously) been a real source of frustration for me. Real heartache, real struggle is oftentimes painted over as "trust God" by people who don't understand the struggle. I have never lost a child so I would never be the one to say to a mother who has "just know God is good, trust Him" I might say we serve a great God who can redeem this. I might tell her how heartbroken I am for her, but I wouldn't tell her that this is for her good.
Is God good in that situation? yes of course. Is the situation going to be for her good and for His glory? yes. What was meant for evil (death), can it be used for good? The lord certainly said so to Joseph so it must be true. But it is incredible insensitive to tell this woman that her baby's death is good. She has to learn how he uses this for good on her own and with people who have been there. This will not come immediately. Her pain cannot be overlooked. When sensitivity is shown and when the wound is not so fresh, then the point can be made, then the lesson can be learned.
"God is good" is both the correct answer and the blanket answer. It is the true answer and it in the end, is the most comforting answer, but when used to downplay or overlook one's pain, when used by people who do not know pain in a particular way, it is a blanket answer that seems very insensitive.
I use this phrase incorrectly all the time and I am ineffective when I do, and I may even turn the person off to the truth that He is good because of my ineffectiveness. And, I have been the person tuning out that phrase as well. Possibly we should convey the same theme in a more concerned way -- remind the person that God cares for their pain, not only that their pain is good and for His glory. Because God is good is only half of the story. Pain may be His plan but it also breaks His heart to see our pain. And as I grasp that fact, the fact that the Lord of all creation, hurts for my hurt, cares for every need and dissapointment, I more easily see that He is good.