Everyone has times in their life when they wonder how good God is. Usually it’s in times when we’re really hurting, and there doesn’t seem to be any sense to it, or even an end in sight. It’s in these times that our trust in the goodness of God is really tested, and stretched. For Jesus, the biggest one was in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was in extreme pain and agony, crushing sorrow, as He faced his own immanent torture and death. Everything in him was saying “It’s too hard!”. He cried to God for another way, an easier way. But there was no answer. Ultimately He had to trust himself to the Father, uttering those immortal words “Not my will, but yours be done”. He overcame the temptation to give up and believed the goodness of God over his own feelings and fears.
The wonderful thing about this is that Jesus’ staking his life on God’s goodness brought about our salvation (and the salvation of billions). If Jesus had given in to his fears and feelings and not “committed himself to him who judges justly”, where would we be? Still in our sins and under condemnation, facing the awful prospect of paying for our own wrongs and failures.
Jesus calls us as his redeemed people to follow in his footsteps. Not in saving the world (that’s his job!) but in trusting in God’s goodness no matter what, thus showing ourselves and the world that He really is a trustworthy Saviour. James reminds us that this is the difficult (but saving) path of humble obedience, being a doer of the Word, not just a hearer.
May God give us his strength to keep believing his goodness and faithfulness through all our trials and temptations.