117 E Elm Street
By John Stumbo
When we wish someone a “good day,” we don’t wish for their death. How then dare we call this Friday “good”?
If we had lived in Jerusalem that Friday, we would have only called this a good day if we had been Christ’s enemies. The protectors of the status quo, the fickle mob, the demonic forces and Satan himself—they thought it a very good day indeed. But those who followed Him, those who loved Him, those who knew who He really was, thought it the worst day of history.
Good Friday is good only if God Himself is truly good.
After all, what is good about betrayal, mockery, abuse, beatings, torment and blood-thirsty violence? All of these were suffered by Jesus. What good do we possibly see as evil is victorious, injustice rules and hatred overpowers love? What good do we find in death? Death is our enemy. Death is feared. Death is avoided at all costs. Death is a tragedy, especially for someone so young. How do we have the audacity to look upon something so tragic, so heinous and horrific, and declare it “good”?
Everyone in our culture today wants to believe that if there is a God, He is good. No one wants a “bad” God. But the great weakness of our culture—Christian or not—is that we want to be the ones who define “goodness.” Health, prosperity, long life, harmony with others and the world . . . these are all good. Anything less is not. We will define the term, we will act as judge, we will determine good and evil. We shall be as God.
But Good Friday is only good if the God of Good Friday is good.
Our reasoning continues: Since we know what is good, we know that a good God would only give us what we consider to be good. Certainly if suffering or hardship enters our lives, it comes from the hand of another, but never His. But what if we’re short-sighted? What if His definition of “good” looks to a farther horizon than ours? What if we’re blind? Could it be that God is indeed very good—that He, in fact, is the definition of goodness—but He is utterly different than we expect?
Good Friday is indeed good because the God of Good Friday is good.
On that day when the sky became a shroud, the earth trembled and the righteous wept, God knew what we could not: Suffering was necessary, bloodshed mandatory, evil temporary and death the entry to life. The Definition and Definer of Good revealed that His power is so great, His authority so complete that even the cruelest of this world is redeemable. The worst day of all of human history became good because God is good . . . good beyond our imagination.
May His goodness bring new hope to your suffering today.
—From the book In The Midst: Treasures from the Dark, by John Stumbo