Sometimes thinking in the Church is too sophisticated. Sometimes, we tend to miss simple truths, stated plainly and simply. How many of us would feel comfortable in a congregation where the people express a form of what is called the “old-time religion?” I heard of one such church which developed a kind of chant that expressed a simple truth. The preacher would shout, “God is good.” The congregation would enthusiastically reply, “All the time.” It was their way of affirming truths about the power of God to provide for God’s people.
Is this a fundamental truth of the Christian Gospel? This week we do learn anew from our scripture from Matthew 14 that God is God—that God will provide what we need. We re-learn, that God will lift up among us resources to accomplish holy and life-giving purposes. We encounter hungry people being met by a suggestion from the disciples that Jesus send them away to get something to eat. But Jesus had something else in mind. Maybe it was his way of saying, “God is good.” But the disciples didn’t know how to reply, “All the time.” So, Jesus told them not to send the hungry people away but to give them something to eat themselves. He was saying, “You don’t think there is enough for these hungry seekers, but the truth is—there is enough because God will provide.”
The feeding the 5,000 which we call a miracle reveals how God can raise up in the midst of the people of what is need because God is good: All the time. Jesus offers us hope and direction if we can see that everything is possible with God. If we see that looking to love, the love that comes from God, can be the key to meeting the needs of our brothers and sisters. Today we seem to be to sophisticated to believe in miracles—to believe that God really is good—all the time; that the power of God can, in every instance, provide more than we can imagine. Sometimes we know so much we can’t see the truth when Jesus faces us down with the familiar, “You—give them something to eat.” And yet, the goodness of God calls us always to know that God’s love, moving in and overflowing from us, can provide what God’s people need: because God is good: All the time.
In every situation in life, God’s power works toward lifting up whatever promotes love in that situation. Wherever there is injustice or pain or grief or hardship or hunger, God is there, for God is good: All the time. As Paul says so majestically in the Epistle to the Roman’s earlier than today’s reading, “In all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Paul reminds us that in all things God’s abundance will, in the final analysis, become sufficient to meet our needs. Right here. Right now. In the midst of who and what we are, God will provide. Because God is good: All the time. This does not mean, of course, that people of faith will have no problems or no misery. But it does mean that God will give us the grace and aid to bear the load as we overcome and move through whatever may befall us.
Ours is not a faith of easy answers and unrealistic solutions. Jesus entered life and died on the cross for us, showing us that in whatever we experience, in whatever may trouble us, in whatever distress or threat we feel, we need not fear because God is in it with us. God will lift up in our midst what we need to make it through, because God is good: All the time. God is not far away and aloof from us. Jesus shows us that God does not stand outside of life, but is right here with us, beside us in our broken and troubled and suffering world. St. Paul reminds us that nothing in existence can ever separate us from the love of God, revealed in Christ. In whatever crisis or issue we face in life, in whatever trouble may come our way, the power of God’s love will provide what we need. From the midst of us, God will lift up the resources to accomplish his loving purposes, because God is good: All the time.