[This is the tenth of fourteen passages that saved my life a few years ago.]

Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The LORD will do what is good in his sight.  1 Chronicles 19:13


When I discovered this small passage, sort of in passing, I pounced on it like it was $1000 bill that someone unwittingly put out with the recycling. It speaks to the challenge of trusting God for something that he may or may not give me in the end. It answers the question, “Why should I go to the trouble to trust God and live responsibly if he’s not going to give me what I’m working and trusting for?”

Joab and his army were fighting their enemies; I’m fighting cancer. I don’t know if I’m going to win the battle and see God heal me or not. All I know is that I’m supposed to “be strong and fight bravely.” My part is to do my part faithfully. It’s my responsibility to courageously wield my own sword and resist my enemy. I can’t do God’s job for him and he won’t do mine for me, so I’ll just try to fight bravely.

There’s nothing surprising about what Joab said to his brother so far. It’s what he said next about what to expect from their brave fighting that was revolutionary to me:  “The Lord will do what is good in his sight.”

I know what my job is – to be strong and fight bravely. God’s part, on the other hand, is to do what is good in his sight. The problem is, what’s good in his sight might not always be what’s good in mine. He and I don’t always agree about what is good. And guess whose opinion (of what is good) actually matters!

There are a couple of “super-promises” in the Bible about what is good:

“No good thing will he withhold from them who walk uprightly…”

“He works all things together for good to those who love him…”

But we can’t forget what Jesus said about what is good: “There’s none good but God.” In other words, God is going to do what is good in his sight, but since we’re not good, we wouldn’t know good if it slapped us in the face!

Joab made it clear that God would do what was good in his own sight, and not necessarily in theirs. All they knew to do was to be strong and fight bravely. They could do that. That was their job. God’s part, on the other hand, was to be involved in the outcome in some good way. And, if they did their part, God would do his and see that things turned out to be “good in his sight.”

I only know what I like, what’s comfortable for me, what’s “good” in my sight. For me, that would be total healing from cancer, a good long healthy life with a bunch of grandchildren (I hope my kids are listening), and many opportunities to serve Jesus fruitfully. That would seem “good” to me. But since I’m not in charge of “good,” I’ll have to trust him to do his job well and bring good out of bad.

Though I know this I do still tell him what I think he ought to do – about this thing and that. It seems impossible to withhold the urge. But I usually include a postscript of something like, “But feel free to go ahead and do what is good in your sight” ­– as though he needed my permission.

“Everything you know you’re supposed to do, do that. Fight for yourself and for the benefit of others. But remember the outcome is in my hands, and I will determine the best outcome based on what I think is good. I am good and I know best about what good is. You’re not qualified because you’re not good in yourself, as I am. Do your part with courage and let me do mine with wisdom.” Jesus

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