Here are 3 signs God is putting you through a season of preparation now so you will be able to experience more of God’s goodness later.
1. If God Is Stripping Away the False Lovers in Your Life, This Is a Sign God is Preparing You to Experience More of His Goodness
When your mouth is full of something bitter it cannot then taste that which is sweet. When our hands are full of fake pearls, we cannot open our hand to receive the real thing. And when God wants to give you more of his goodness, he will start the process by first removing the things in your life that are filling those places in you only he can actually fill. As Bob Dylan famously said:
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
God made us as worshippers. If we are not worshipping him, our hearts will find some other false god to worship. In love, God strips away all these false loves in our hearts so we might receive his true and everlasting love. Notice what Jonah finally said Jonah 2:8-10 (NIV) before God delivered him:
Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, “Salvation comes from the Lord.”’ And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”
Likewise, only after we let go of the false gods in life will we be delivered by the one true God. We will not be able to experience God’s goodness while also clinging to things that are taking God’s place in our hearts. In love God will allow all of the false lovers in our lives to fail us so we will see that he alone is what our hearts truly need.
2. If God Is Opening Your Heart to the Theological Truths About God’s Goodness, This Is a Sign God Is Preparing You to Personally Experience His Goodness as Well
Theology is so important. While the culture around us says truth is relevant and we can all have our “own truth,” the Bible says the exact opposite. While the culture around us says that the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth, and as long as you accept everyone as right and never tell someone they are wrong, then you are acceptable but otherwise you are an intolerant and despicable person – again, the Bible says the exact opposite.
Christian will always infuriate certain people because Christianity will always point out what is wrong in other belief systems. The Bible says there truly is only one way to God, which is through faith in Jesus Christ by God’s grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-10). Therefore all the other paths people try to follow in life are wrong.
While to some this may seem dogmatic, close minded, and unloving, God wants his people to be so fiercely committed to the one truth as expressed in the Bible because that is the only way we will experience his goodness. It’s not loving to pretend lies are truth when you know they are not. One of the reasons theology is so important is because what you believe will shape the way you live, and the way you live will cause you to experience either good or bad things.
So one sign that God is preparing you to experience more of his goodness is when he is teaching you more theological truths about his goodness. The greater amount of rich biblical truth you take into your heart about the goodness of God, the more you will be able to experience that goodness in your life as well. May we pray like David and cry out like him in Psalm 27:13 which states, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!”
3. If God Is Increasing Your Capacity to Sacrifice for Him and Others, This Is a Sign God Is Increasing Your Ability to Experience More of His Goodness
The path to joy that is laid out in the Bible is so contradictory to the path the world tells us to follow if we want to be happy. The world says, “Do what you want and pursue your own dreams at any cost. Never let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do. Always seek your own pleasure and you will find happiness.”
But in the Bible God tells us to submit to him, to reject what we sinfully crave and obey God no matter the personal cost that will be required. God tells us the most joyful and meaningful life is the one that is filled with the most sacrifice done unto the glory of God. In such an odd turn of events, the Bible actually teaches us that the path to our own happiness is the same path that leads to our own spiritual death. The more we can sacrifice ourselves for God and others, the more goodness we will experience of God himself. For as Hebrews 12:1-3 teaches us:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
If you are a runner, you know that to run with endurance is a painful process. You want to stop when your lungs and legs begin to burn more and more with every stride, but to stop means you will lose the race. Likewise, Jesus endured all the pain of the cross, obeying God even though he despised the shame it would bring. Why? Why did he do this? Because he knew that there was joy set before him.
As Jim Elliot, the famous missionary who was killed by the people he went to serve, said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” So if God is teaching you the value of laying down your own life in service to him and others, this is a sign God is also preparing you to experience more of his eternal goodness.