God is good. All the time. A common saying among believers, and for my generation it is even used as a call and response. Where one person will say “God is good” and then you would respond with “All the time”. It has become such a common saying that it has somehow lost its full meaning. It’s one thing to just say these words out of habit and something entirely different to hear them. Hearing these words from a person in need gives the phrase entirely new and refreshed meaning.
This was my experience at St. Francis Inn a few weeks ago. As a man was leaving the Inn, he proclaimed those very words “God is good. All the time”. This man, in his position, could easily curse God, but rather he proclaimed God’s goodness. I was so struck by what he said that this simple saying suddenly took on a whole new meaning. I’m always impressed by the faith of the people that we serve. Their faith makes me question the strength of my own faith. Not that I have doubts, but rather that I haven’t fostered my own faith enough. When times are hard it’s difficult to see God at work, to see his goodness in all things. We can easily turn to anger and curse and hate God til we are red in the face. How hard it is then to say that God is good when we feel abandoned by God. How then was this man able to claim that God is good at a time where he had to rely on others to feed him? Because of his faith, he was still able to recognize that God is good even when he was having difficulties. This man recognized that even when life is hard God does not abandon us. The opposite can also be true when we find life is going well. It’s easy to pray to God and ask for help when times are hard; to run to God when we are in need. In those moments, we recognize our lowliness. In those moments, when we feel broken and are made humble. I find it’s more difficult to remember to pray when times are good. When life is easy, it becomes easy to take God for granted. We forget to give thanks to God and to glorify Him not for God’s sake but for our own benefit. When we are riding high, it is easy to replace humility with pride. To believe in our own strength and power over God’s infinite power. We can easily become distracted and place false idols before God. In these moments we need to have humility and recognize that everything we have comes from God, and everything we accomplish is because God wills it.
I often turn to the lives of the saints for inspiration. Not to live exactly like them, but to try and emulate them in some way. Maybe I don’t need to look so far as heaven for guidance because God puts saints right in front of me. God shows me the most tremendous examples of faith on the streets. Why does God do this? What is God’s plan in all of this? I don’t know. I don’t pretend to know. I have faith enough to say that God has put these people into my life as part of His plan. Perhaps part of that plan is for me to learn how to have faith like them. To have faith that can change the world. From their example, I too can learn to say “God is good all the time”, even when times are hard and I don’t recognize God’s goodness. It can be so easy to forget so God makes sure to give me reminders each day.
God is good. All the time.
David Hojnowski, FVM Philadelphia 2020-2021