“For you, Lord, are good and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.”– Psalm 86:5
A little boy, who had been studying at school about the discovery of America, said to his father one day, “Father, if I had been Columbus I would not have taken all that trouble to discover America”. “Why? What would you have done?” asked the father.
“Oh,” replied the little boy, “I would have just gone to the map and found it!”
This little boy made a simple mistake for his age. He didn’t realize that maps are pictures of places that are already known and have been proven to exist. America doesn’t exist because it is on the map. It is on the map because it is already known to exist.
This story provides a similar analogy for us regarding the Word of God and the claims it makes about God’s character. The Word of God makes certain statements such as the one in Psalm 86:5, “For you, Lord, are good…ready to forgive…abundant in mercy.” Life, at times, challenges these statements. I think of Joseph and all that he went through in being torn from his father and being sold to the Egyptians, being falsely accused, spending years in prison, etc. While all ended well with him, surely his faith in the goodness of God was being strained and stretched.
It’s the same with us. We all have seasons of trial in which our faith in the goodness, forgiveness, and abundant mercy of God are challenged, stretched, and strained. It would be well for us at such times to remember that the Word of God does not speak in platitudes. It claims to make statements of fact. Think of Jesus’ words in John 3:11: “Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen…” These are not statements of hope, speculation, or wishful thinking.
A mistake such as the one made by the little boy above is almost cute in its simplicity for his age. For us as adults, it can be disastrous spiritually. In times when our faith is stretched, when circumstances seem to belie the promises regarding God’s character in Scripture, let us remember that the promise that “God is good” isn’t just true because it’s in the Bible…
It’s in the Bible because it’s true!
Tracy Gray, M.A.
Dean of Students