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THE CHURCH
OF ENGLAND “When the
power of love
overcomes the
love of power
the world will
know peace”
< One of my many good memories from that trip is a piece of liturgy that the local churches used – and probably still do. The minister would say, ‘God is good!’, to which the congregation would reply, ‘All the time!’. The minister would then say, ‘All the time!’, to which the congregation would reply, ‘God is good!’ That’s what I call great liturgy: it taught a simple, and profoundly valuable truth, and kept on reinforcing it.

The reason I’ve brought this to your attention is that the truth this liturgy teaches – that God is good all the time – is one that we can never hear too much of, and which needs to be constantly reinforced in our lives. Why? Because so many of the things that happen to us, or that we see happen to friends or family, suggest the opposite: that God is not good, and if He is, then He is a part-timer. I would imagine that a number of you reading this, as soon as you saw the title to the article, will have shaken your head and thought to yourself, ‘This time (or yet again!) the Vicar’s got it wrong.’ Millions of people will look at this world and ask, ‘How can we possibly conclude that God is good – let alone all the time?

Let me relate a story that goes a little way towards answering this question. It doesn’t answer everything, but it at least points us   
in the right direction. A man was having his hair cut, and the conversation with his barber turned to religion. The barber was adamant that he did not believe in God, and nothing the customer (who was a Christian) could say would change his mind. He maintained that you only had to look at all the evil in the world to conclude that there was no God.

The customer realised the barber was set in his view, and changed the subject. But when he had paid and walked out of the shop, he spotted a man waiting to cross the road who had long, untidy hair. He walked straight back into the shop and told the barber, ‘Barbers don’t exist!’. The barber replied, ‘That`s ridiculous; You’ve just had your hair cut by one! The customer maintained, ‘No, I’ve seen the evidence: there’s a man outside with long, untidy hair – how could his hair be so long and untidy if barbers existed? Immediately the barber said, ‘That’s easy: just because you’ve seen a man with long, untidy hair doesn’t mean barbers don’t exist – they do, but the people with long untidy hair need to come to them.’ The customer smiled as he replied, ‘Well, so does God exist – but people need to turn to Him in faith.’

Of course, that story doesn’t answer all the questions about how   
a God of love can allow a world in which there is so much suffering – but I think it answers some of them. Even those of us who believe in, know and love God sometimes feel overwhelmed by sadness and disappointment at what happens in our own lives – let alone the suffering around the world we see on our TV screens. At these times we need to recall the truths that scripture teaches us about God, and combine it with our experience of His faithfulness to us. Whatever anyone says to me, and whatever horrors I see happening around the world, I know that when I have called out to Him in pain and distress, He has been there. He has heard and answered – even if some of the answers I can only see as I look back. I will leave the final word to the psalmist:

The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food
at the proper time
You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of
every living thing.
Psalm 145:15,16

God is good, all the time. Really.
Rupert Hankey Writes about
“…Well, so
does God exist –
but people need
to turn to Him
in faith” All the time!