Koe Otua lelei, Koe Otua lelei, Koe Otua lelei, Otua lelei kia te au."
You may not speak Tongan, but I dare say that many of you would recognize the tune were it sung to you. (Don't worry, I'll spare you. Singing is not one of my gifts!)
In English, the lyrics are this:"God is so good. God is so good. God is so good; He’s so good to me."
Each session at the Mango Tree Centre concluded with this song sung directly to each child, with their name inserted at the end.But how do you tell a boy who can't stand on two strong legs that God is good to him? How do you show a little girl who is blind that God sees her? Is God still good when a child, by no fault of her own, is born with a birth defect that will cut her life short and create additional challenges for her family and care-givers already living in poverty?
Is it possible that God's goodness is completely unrelated to "good" or "bad" circumstances, favourable or unfavourable health? Is God only good when life treats us well and therefore suddenly ceases to be good when our expectations are not met and things don't go as planned? Of course not!
A water molecule retains its chemical make-up as H20 whether it freezes or evaporates, because it is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. The moment it no longer contains these atoms, it ceases to be water and becomes a new substance.
Likewise, goodness is as essential to God's essence as hydrogen and oxygen are to water. If God is not good, God is not God. Goodness is that attribute that disposes God to be kind and compassionate to His people, taking pleasure in them.
I love how AW Tozer says it in his book, Knowledge of the Holy, "Everything in the universe is only good to the degree it conforms to the nature of God and evil as it fails to do so.”
So really, unpleasant circumstances aren't a reflection on God at all. In contrast, they serve to show us all the more the goodness of God and how far off everything else is in comparison to Him.
The standard of goodness or righteousness is always God. He is the ruler by which everything else is measured.
Psalm 145:9 (NLT)
9 The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.
So yes, God IS still good to the blind girl and the lame boy. He still DOES good to them even though systems of the world which are influenced by the power of sin may not.
Never was there a more powerful display of God’s goodness than when He refused to relieve the suffering of his own Son Jesus Christ, as he hung on the cross to pay for the sin that sent this whole world into a tizzy in the first place. As Christ approached his death, literally paying with his life for our wrongs committed that placed a chasm between us and a holy God, he asked his Father to remove the cup of suffering from him. And in the Father’s goodness . . . the request was not granted. He did not answer that prayer.
Why? Why did God not say “yes” to his own Son’s prayer? One would think that God was cruel and unkind to allow such a prayer to fall on deaf ears. In that hour, one would have thought God was not good. Circumstances sure did not look good.
Praise be to God, this was the greatest unanswered prayer in history. The shedding of Christ’s blood has broken the curse of sin and allowed each one of us to be a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, should we choose to do so.
God's greatest pain became our greatest gain.
This also meant that all the things that have caused these precious Tongan children pain will eventually be judged by the good God and put to rights. There will be a time when all that plagues the earthly body will go away. Until that happens, God in his goodness has given us the companions of suffering and discomfort to build our character and make us suitable for His heaven. Who knows but that these children have been given an incredible gift that the able-bodied world may never get to experience.
Is God good?