Building on his teaching of God knowing us and providing for us, Jesus appeals to God’s goodness as a Father to convince us of its truth. In Matthew 7:7-11, Jesus says to the crowd:
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
Jesus’ reasoning is very simple. He is arguing from the lesser to the greater. If we humans who are evil know how to be good providers for our kids, is not God (who is not evil but perfectly good) more than capable and willing to be a good provider for his children? Of course the answer is yes.
It is easy to question God’s goodness in the midst of “bad” circumstances. It can feel as if God is not being good to us, or that we are being punished. God, as a good Father, does discipline his children, but he never gives a bad gift. The cancer you found out you have is not a bad gift. The loved one you lost was not a bad gift. The good job you were wrongfully fired from was not a bad gift. The suffering and trials in your life are not bad gifts. They are good gifts. And what makes them good is both the Giver who gave them and the purpose for which he gave them.
Our circumstances are designed to make us more like the One who saved us. Our lives are not a series of accidents and random chance events, rather everything is the result of a careful planning by a caring God who has one goal in mind for every Christian, to be more like his Son, Jesus. Paul says in Romans 8, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Before all time, God sovereignly ordained for your life to be filled with trials, and not just any trials, but your specific trials. Why? Because he knows what is best and what is good and how to make you more like Jesus in the best and most good way possible.
In addition to the “bad” things in our life, God also provides the good things. In 6:25-33, Jesus states:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life. And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Again Jesus argues from the lesser to the greater to make his point. Our good Father takes note of even the tiniest birds. Their needs do not escape his notice, nor do they escape his provision. God’s knowledge and provision extends to even the lowliest of creatures. How can we, who are more valuable than they, even think that he will not provide for us, the very bearers of his image? Because God is good, and providing for the needs of his children is good, we can be assured that God will provide for us. God is a good Father.