Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake (the world’s greatest pair of best friends) were part of an SNL sketch that had Timberlake impersonating Fallon with recurring “so good” comments. It’s hilarious, and the comedic duo’s “so good” perfectly captures our culture of opinions. In the vernacular, things we like are “good.” When people ask how we are, we respond with “good.” When we confirm that nothing is wrong, we say “it’s all good.”
Good is our common positive remark of choice. When talking about goodness or what is good, either from the Biblical definition or our modern-day interpretation, it is easy to project our convictions about what we think is good onto what actually is. The goodness of God lies at the heart of our understanding of goodness. God is the standard for good. The standard is not what we think or how we feel. Good is everything God determined as good. These determinations are grounded in who he is.
One must also realize that everything good comes from God, and everything that comes from God is good. The latter is a hard truth to grasp. In the face of difficulties and loss, it is hard to comprehend how any ostensible negative life experiences are good. This is when it is most necessary to remember that goodness is defined by God’s standard and not our own.
Romans 8:28, a verse made popular in isolation because it speaks to our contemporary desire for the good and pleasing, says that God works all things together for good for those who love him and are called by him. The Lord brings us to where he wants us for our good, not just to do good. This can be a hard lesson for the Christian, I think. We think that we will be used for great things, but instead the Lord uses our lives and situations (everything from easy and happy to hard and despondent) for our good. He molds us on the mountaintops and in the valleys.
Learning to better possess the meaning of good requires some exercise of the heart and mind, some exercise of faith. Psalm 34:8 says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” Taste and see are verbs. We must actively taste and see the goodness of God. This is impossible when we use ourselves for that standard. I love the imagery of tasting and seeing. This is an active work of identifying the goodness of God. I tend to only identify God’s goodness when I think it is good.
Don’t wait for what you think is good to taste it and see it as such. Take hold of all God has done and does; know that it is good because he is the standard. Taste and see by meditating on God’s Word and memorizing it. Spend time thinking on these things.