When Good Things Happen

Proclaim, give praise, and say, “Save, O Lord, your people.” Jeremiah 31:7

Jesus said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.” Mark 5:19


Mount Denali “showed up” while we were there last July. It’s size dwarfing the large mountains in the nearer mid-ground of this image. It is covered in clouds 70% of the time.

What good thing could you add to this list?

  • The weather during the month of May in Texas was delightful.
  • We experienced wonderful times and beautiful vistas of God’s creation while on vacation.
  • Our children are doing well in school.
  • My boss gave me a raise.
  • I was able to pay off all my debts, and then discovered that I had made an extra payment that was returned to my account the next day.
  • The report from the doctor showed no disease.
  • We just celebrated my dad’s 90th birthday, and the whole family was there.
  • I’ve been getting great sleep night after night.
  • My daughter has a truly wonderful teacher.

So often when bad things happen to us, we call upon God, asking what he’s trying to teach us or why he’s allowing these things to happen to us? Implicit in those reactions are the notions that we deserve better, or that we can do something to deserve God’s favor. Worse yet, and far more dangerous is the inane notion that we can call God to account, and demand that he answer to us (cf. Job 38)

When good things happen, however, the praise to God too seldom is lacking or too often is fleeting. The truth is, God doesn’t interact with us on a transactional basis. He is not a quid pro quo deity, doling out good things to good people, and bad things to bad people. He causes his rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike (Matthew 5:45). Whatever good happens to us is a testimony and expression of God’s mercy and grace.

The above list of good things could be things as simple as house and home, fields and cattle, spouse and family, and the like. All these come to us because of God’s fatherly divine goodness and mercy without any merit or worthiness on our part. For all these things it is our duty to thank, praise, serve, and obey him. This is most certainly true. That’s from Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, and a good counterpoint to the demand for answers from God when things don’t go well.

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