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I didn’t plan on another post about Bethel today, but I’ve been mourning with the Bethel community and the Johnson family over the loss of Bill Johnson’s wife, Beni, who graduated to heaven July 13th after a battle with cancer.
Along with so many others, I contended for Beni’s healing. I knew God could do it. Bethel has seen countless others healed of cancer; why not one more? Why not the prayer-warring matriarch of this church and beloved wife of one of the most humble, God-fearing men on the earth? I’m not sure anyone could be more deserving of a miracle.
Beni’s in heaven now. She is healed, but not in the way most of us would have chosen.
I think we can all relate to this type of disappointment in some way or another, whether we’ve lost a loved one to cancer specifically or just experienced loss, period. Loss doesn’t always involve physical death; sometimes the death of a relationship or the death of a dream is just as painful. We all face disappointment at some point in our lives, and it usually doesn’t take very long for it to rear its ugly head. Anyone living on this earth knows what it’s like to feel pain.
Yet the fact remains that God is good. Even now. Even when it doesn’t feel like it. Even when there’s loss. Even when there’s disappointment. Even when so many prayers were offered up that didn’t result in the hoped-for outcome.
Even in your pain and suffering. Even in mine.
God is inherently good, he is still speaking a good word, and (via YouTube) I got to watch Bill Johnson stand on a stage four days after his wife’s death and preach on God’s goodness. I’m not sure I’ve ever respected anyone more. He cried; I cried. He offered up a sacrifice of praise and held his ground that God is still good. In his touching message, Bill said this:
The backsliding heart will always judge God by what he didn’t do, but those who run with tenderness for who he is will always define him by what he has said, by what he has promised, by what he has done. And to be as honest as I know how to be, I’ve seen too much of his kindness to think anything other than he is absolutely good. Always, always good.
This is a big part of what drew me to Bethel in the first place: this unrelenting belief that God is good, NO MATTER WHAT.
If Bill Johnson can proclaim that truth just days after losing his wife to cancer and years after losing his dad to the same disease, so can I. So can you.
We’ve all had those moments when our experiences don’t line up with what we believed God would do or what we thought he should have done. That’s when we get to choose: will we still stand on the truth we believed in before it got hard? Or will we abandon our beliefs once they are challenged by life’s circumstances?
I want to be the kind of Christian who chooses to believe in the goodness of God no matter what. I CHOOSE to be a Christian who believes in the goodness of God no matter what.
Life is hard. Loss is hard. But loss doesn’t negate the goodness of God. Romans 8:28 is my favorite Bible verse and it assures us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
That’s a promise we can stand on. We can trust in God’s word, because it’s truer than any of our feelings. God’s not afraid of our feelings, but he speaks a better word. He speaks words of hope, life, joy, and peace.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Declare these verses with me today if you’re walking through disappointment and put your faith in the God who does not disappoint:
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.Psalm 27:13 NIV
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.Psalm 23:6 NIV
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”Psalm 16:2 NIV
I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.Psalm 13:6 NIV
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.Psalm 34:8 NIV
How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.Psalm 31:19 NIV
I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good.Psalm 54:6 NIV
The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.Psalm 85:12 NIV
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.James 1:17 NIV
The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in himNahum 1:7 NIV
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.Psalm 100:5 NIV
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.Lamentations 3:25-26 NIV
For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.Philippians 2:13 NIV
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.Psalm 84:11 NIV
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.Philippians 1:6 NIV
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.Psalm 107:1 NIV
You can watch Bill Johnson’s sermon from 7/17/2022 on YouTube or Bethel TV.
For even more encouragement, get his book God is Good: He’s Better Than You Think.
If you’re going through a difficult time, I pray that God reveals his goodness to you this week and that he gives you the strength to cling to his truth and to his promises. You are not alone, and as it says in his word, his goodness will follow you. ❤️