In my last post, I asked “How good are You, God?!?”
I will proceed to talk about how “He is always better than you think!”
What you’ll read next, is a topic I’ve taught on a few times.
In church we tend to say that God is good! And we tend to say this all the time. But do we really know what this means?!? I want to give you an outrageous claim today:
God is always better than you think!
In Matthew 7:9-11 Jesus says:
“Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (NKJV)
So Jesus, who is representing Father God to us, says that we know how to give good gifts to our children, but we are still evil compared to Him! For us, goodness might look like not being straight out evil or mean to someone, and especially to those we love. Do you realize that giving your children food is actually only the beginning of good?! It is by no means the highest measure of goodness!!!!
So we like to say that God is good but do we know what true goodness is?? I would say that for most of us the answer is a definite “No”, or “I know more about it than I used to..”
However, even if the goodness of God is something you can truly relate to, I would still claim that “God is better than you think”.
Let’s have a look at what Luke 15 says:
In verse 1 and 2 the Pharisees and Scribes of that day are complaining that Jesus spends time with sinners and tax collectors! I mean, that is just sooo wrong!
Jesus responds with parables, one of them known to a lot of us as The prodigal son. Do you know what prodigal means? I didn’t, but someone told me, and I’ve looked it up again for you. It means:
wastefully extravagant. having or giving something on a lavish scale.
The parable should actually be called The prodigal father. And Who is the father in this story?
He is THE FATHER – Our God, and I would dare to say that in this parable He’s coming across as a better father than we can even imagine.
I hope you have heard the story before, especially since it’s a true one, and both you and Father God are in it!
But in case not, I’ll break it up for you:
A father has two sons. The oldest always stays with his father, obeying and serving him.
The youngest son, however, asks for his inheritance and goes as far away as he can from his father, spending all he has on rather selfish and shameful things. He eventually ends up really poor and miserable. As he finds himself in this state, he decides that he’s better off as a servant for his father than staying where he’s at, so he goes home, repenting. The younger son goes home, hoping to be a servant in his father’s house, but nothing more.
Let’s get real. What would happen right here, in most cases?
I mean, the son has dishonored his father through his poor choices (which apparently were known to everybody by then). Not only that, but back in the days, asking for your inheritance ahead of time was pretty bad. The son practically said:
“I wish you were dead!”
Now the younger son comes back, and mainly because he has no better thing to do. And he humbles himself, expecting and hoping to be a servant for the rest of his life.
A lot of us might take this son in (whether he is a son to us, or some other kind of relation in life) – and give him shelter, food, or we might help him find a job.
Because we’re good, right? To ignore him or send him back would be too harsh.
But would we treat him as we used to?
Would we instantly – or ever – give back to him his authority and dignity?
Truthfully, no that’s not what we’d naturally want to do.
We would want to protect ourselves – and others – from the younger son, whoever this is in our lives.
We can forgive – yes – but forget?? That’s harder.
But you know what?
God isn’t afraid of us messing up!
Because God is love and there is no fear in love! (1 John 4:18)
God doesn’t fear that we’ll mess up again! So, why should He not fully restore us, give us authority and responsibility and privileges again???
The Father Jesus tells about forgave his son and acted as if nothing bad had ever happened!
That’s what he did for the youngest son. And he didn’t wait it out, or do it in secret. No.
Instantly and publicly. That’s how the younger son was restored back into everything he had once had.
The father gave him a robe, a ring, and shoes, and held a big party for him.
Back in Jesus’ time, this ring put the son’s finger was a sign that the son had the same authority the Father had. The robe signified dignity and covering.
These specific shoes were reserved for wealthy sons, never for servants or slaves.
And the fattened calf, was something meant for festivities only!
Are you shocked yet? I know I am, and I have had time to think about this.
God is always better than you think!
What about the oldest son?
As the youngest son gets a party from his father, the oldest son is mad – why, he never got a party, even though he always served so well!
He said to his father:
“(..) these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.” (Luke 15:29)
The oldest son lived close to his Father and served him well, but still he didn’t really know him!
I’m sure the older son knew his father was good; in the way a master can be good and benevolent to a servant.
He just didn’t know how good He really was! He didn’t know what it really meant to be a son in his father’s house! All this time he had access to everything – including his father. He just wasn’t fully aware of it.
The Father said to him:
“Son, you are always with me, and all i have is yours!” (Luke 15:31)
The older son could have just asked his father for whatever he wanted and he would have gotten it – all this time!
And it wasn’t even about something he needed. No! He already had that.
The older son wanted to party and enjoy life!
And the father was totally ok with that!
In fact, He acted surprised, and to me it sounds as if He is saying:
“Why didn’t you already throw that party?!?”
The older son didn’t do that – because he didn’t realize just how good his father was!
This God of ours actually wants us to have a good, happy life. Work is good, but God wants us to enjoy life too!
Who’s the oldest son? The Pharisees and scribes, yes. They wanted to serve God. But they didn’t know God as a good Father.
Who’s the youngest son? The sinners and tax collectors mentioned, yes, but we can all sometimes find ourselves in the same situation as the older or younger son.
Even though the two sons made very different choices in life, do you realize that the sons had one big thing in common?!?
Yes, you’re right: They didn’t truly know their father! They didn’t know how good He was!
Had they known, their life stories would have looked different.
The good news is that they both had the chance to find out about and experience His goodness! And so can we!
Maybe you feel like the youngest son.
If you’ve turned away from Father God, you can go back to Him, and you’ll even find He’s been actively keeping a look out for you. You just didn’t see it because you had your back turned to Him. You might think that it’s too late – that it’s no use, or that He’ll be angry with you?
I’m telling you: God is always better than you think!
Give Him a chance to shower His goodness upon you!
Or you might feel like you’re the oldest son; a great servant, but missing out on the intimacy, fun and abundance you so desperately want.
Well, it’s all there.
Just as the father said: You are always with Him and ALL that He has is yours! Father God doesn’t in any way want you to feel like a servant in His house.
You are a son (or a daughter 😉 )! And whatever Father God has, He has said that it’s yours also! You are also always with Him, which means you don’t have to stay away from Him Instead, you are in His inner circle, and have easy access to Him already!
God is always better than you think!
So, how good do you think God can be??
I dare you to find out for yourself! And I know He wants you to find out!