Why you forget that God is good.

Have you ever had a situation where you doubted God?

If you haven’t, you should probably read another blog. You’re going to hate this one.

What often happens is that we run into a challenge or a tragedy and in the midst of that time, we doubt that God is going to come through. We think he is not powerful or loving or any quality that might comfort us in that time.

In doing that, we forget all the other times he has been there for us.

Why do we forget God is good?

It’s pretty simple actually.

When you experience something in life, it’s like a photo has been taken. It’s clear and high res and full of a million pixels of life. You look at the photo in your hand and think to yourself, “I will never forget this moment!”

The day after the event, when you go to pick up the photo, you realize it’s not the original, it’s a photocopy. It’s OK though because it’s still really good quality. It might be only 98% as good as the real photo but that’s not too bad.

The third day, you get a photocopy of the previous day’s photocopy, not a photocopy of the original. Everyday you live away from that moment, the photocopy gets photocopied. After a month, it’s hard to see the details. After six months the colors are all faded. After a year? You can barely make out what that experience was about.

That’s why the Israelites built piles of rocks in the desert. They are the poster child for “forgetting God is good.” Remember the whole, “Boy we sure do miss slavery!” rants they used to go on. The piles of rocks gave them a reminder that they had a good God.

Why do we forget that?

Because we forget to stack some rocks during the moments God shows up.

Grab a stone today and start building a pile.

You might not need it right now, but someday when life is hard, you’ll be glad you have a reminder of a God who is good.

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  1. says

    NOOOO, Jon, you didn’t!! The trendy Christianese phrase “God showed up” is like “Christmas Shoes.” It makes me want to poke my left eye out (and I’m very fond of that eye.). It’s right up there with the “Lord, come down and be with us today” prayers in church. I thought He was in our hearts–did He climb out and is perched on the steeple? How long will He stay up there if we don’t ask Him to come back down? I used to think He meant it when He said He’d never leave us, but I guess we need to beg Him to be with us daily just in case He’s forgetful.

    I love things like, “And then, halfway through last week’s service, God showed up.” I’m horribly rude and nudge my husband with whispers of “I wonder why He was late? Was He out getting pizza? Heavy traffic? Maybe we need to ask God for His schedule before we have meetings in case He can’t make it.”

    (Psalm 139) “I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
    If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave, you are there.
    If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
    even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me…”
    Well, unless I’m in Small Group–then You might get a hankering for some chicken wings and not show up until later…

  2. says

    Thank you Jon. This is a great reminder. I would add that building a pile of stones to remind us of God’s goodness is essential even in the midst of suffering.

    As a chaplain at a children’s hospital, I meet people precisely when they are struggling to remember that God is good. God does not feel “good” when our child goes from running around and happy to a hospital bed and chemo, or worse yet, dying. Parents respond to this challenge in one of two ways. They grow closer to God or they get angry. They lean on God for provision and comfort, or they blame God or themselves for their child’s illness. They see God’s hand and might in every positive circumstance or they lose sight of all that is good in their hour of darkness. Some grow their faith, while others develop huge doubts. My role is to comfort them in their sorrow and journey with them as they discover or rediscover God’s goodness. I am deeply moved by the parents who start to collect “stones” of God’s goodness in little victories, huge miracles and everything in between. By the time they leave the hospital –with our without their child– they have a huge pile. They leave eager to share their hope with other parents who have just entered a similar journey.

    Building a pile of stones in the middle of our suffering helps us through the pain and generates a powerful hope that we can share with others. True comfort comes from God and he uses people to dispense it. The stones of good times and of suffering journeys become a powerful reminder for us to tell others about God’s goodness. You have already ministered to many. Thank you!

  3. Lynnie says

    Great post Jon. Thanks. I am going to start a stone collecting jar. Remember the good things He has done!!

  4. says

    From the text of the article, are we to take away the message that God’s goodness is revealed whenever we experience good fortune? How is that any different from Santa?

    • H says

      Reminds me of David’s talks to God in Psalms…kind of like the feel of getting clothes just when ya need them verses a thoughtful Birthday present..make sense?

      • says

        Of course it makes sense; it’s just that it’s a very First World way to look at God. When people in the world’s wealthiest country tie their personal good fortune and comfort to God’s goodness, what do you think people in impoverished countries do?

        • H says

          I think Gods God and I am not. I’ve seen people of impoverished countries hungrier for the God of the Bible…I’ve seen nations and people, including myself, flourish and demise in response to the God of the Bible…I’ve seen greedy people win over generous to much heartache and vice versa to great joy…what do you think the people of impovershed countries do to experience Gods goodness?

  5. Gail says

    the best ever comment, saying, thought for me is: You’ve never failed and YOU won’t start now. I
    It is off the Oceans, where feet may fail song from Hill Song.

  6. says

    I blogged about this a few months ago, so wise and certain about gathering stones and ‘remembering to remember’ and then life went on, I hit some valleys and FORGOT MY OWN WORDS. Why is it so easy for us to remember every insult, every trial, every injustice and yet the good stuff fades so fast?
    Why you gotta play me like that, synapses?
    It makes me grateful for human ritual, as misleading as some of them can be. Thanksgiving, communion, Easter – they drag me back into mindfulness and awe.

  7. says

    True words. We all need our altars of faith-reminders of dire moments when God came to our rescue. Over the years, God has used these altars to remind me that He is rooting for my team. No matter how the present challenge goes, the altars remind us of God’s mercy, love n grace. Exodus 34:6

  8. Jon says

    I’ve been thinking about this exact idea for some time now. An idea I had was tattoos. Each time God showed up in an awesome way, I could get a tattoo for the purpose of remembering that season.

    Well, I don’t have any tattoos. And I don’t plan on getting any anytime soon.

    It’s not that I think it’s wrong to have or to get tattoos. I just personally have no desire to get them.

    So I guess my question is, what are some good ideas on how to live this out in a practical way?

    Jon (not Acuff)

    P.S. I’ll leave my email in case people want to email me directly (hope that’s okay) It’s [email protected]

  9. Stephanie Bouzounis says

    This is a really good post and great to hear when you’ve been struggling with anxiety. My anxiety has been bad lately. I recently met a guy that I like, and he lives in another state. We’re “talking” and there are so many fears I have. I’ve been hurt in the past. I’ve been cheated on. I hope this guy doesn’t turn out like the rest of them. It’s hard to see the forest for the trees, and to put past experiences behind you and focus on the good. It’s like how you describe forgetting God.