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. Irony58 says

    I have a related question. I think I’m mostly past the point of doubting what God can do, and I really do thank Him for all the great things he’s done for us. My problem is I don’t know what God *will* do. What’s in His plan? There are things I pray for every single day, some things I’ve been asking for for years (and no, it’s not a Lexus or even a mountain bike). But these prayers go unanswered, as far as I can see. If God’s got a better idea, He’s not filling me in on what that is.

    So I continue to pray and ask, and thank God for the good stuff, but have doubts that God wants to help us out with this worrisome stuff. It’s hard to think it’s all part of His plan, and His plan is perfect and good, so don’t worry, when the thing I’m asking for is a real problem for someone we love.

    • Elizabeth says

      I know it’s discouraging to keep praying for something and it appearing like God’s not listening. I think we have to remember that we don’t know how the story ends, but we have a loving Father who knows exactly what He is doing. God never promised life would be easy, but He did promise that He would always be there and we would never have to walk alone. We won’t always know or understand what He is doing. I, too, like to know what will happen, but we don’t need to see the whole picture to take the next step in faith. I pray that you will be able to trust God because He still knows what He is doing and have peace to wait for His timing.

    • Laura says

      I can relate to this. I have found a lot of comfort and inspiration in a devotional called Streams in the Desert. I definitely recommend it.

  2. says

    Jon, I really enjoyed this post. It is sad how soon we lose sight of God’s grace. But what is even sadder is that when we do lose sight of God’s graceit most often leads to sin. And later the rejection of God’s gift.
    But the truth is that God still offers His gift when we reach that point. Nothing can separate us from His love. The father of lies, however, is good at whispering doubt–and lies–into our ears. But may we ever believe in the name of The Lord.

  3. Lynn says

    What a great reminder! I think it’s also helpful to keep our eyes on Christ …the “real deal” who is not a photo copy …to remember who He is and who we are in Him.

  4. says

    If you had taken that photo in a RAW format the image quality wouldn’t decrease every time it’s copied or altered… #photonerd

    But seriously, this is a great reminder that I need often. Thanks!

  5. nellwyn says

    I needed to read this this morning. My husband has been stranded in the “snow jam” of Birmingham for 20 hours with no food or water and a nearly dead cell phone. I haven’t really been thinking of God’s goodness all night. Thanks for posting this.

  6. says

    Jon, such a great reminder. Yes, we need “alters” that we go to whenever life gets rough and doesn’t make sense. He is faithful to bring us through. The older I get the more I cherish how God is able to take even the bad stuff and use it for good. Love those monuments of God doing the impossible.

    • H says

      (Via J. Mootz after learning the only Grandson of my most faithful, generous legal guardian died…I was feeling the “should have been me guilt, too”)

  7. Nate Canada says

    I had a mentor share this lesson with me right after I became a believer in 2012. I shared the lesson with my parents the same week in excitement.

    Shortly after, they purchased me a “pile of rocks” – a model airplane which symbolized the moment I surrendered my life on a plane coming back home from a missions trip to Mexico.

    Even now, I see that plane in my living room and can’t help but get teary.

  8. Michelle says

    I think this is one of the reasons why it is so very important that we are part of a Church family. A good Church family that reminds us that God is good each and every service. For me that is like those stones.

  9. says

    So true. Great post. A few months ago, God provided for me in a big way. I actually grabbed a stone from the yard of the place where it happened (is that stealing?). I didn’t take it to be some corny Christian, but I wanted it to remember, for it to a be a mini-monument of how God moved mightily in my life. Thanks for sharing this reminder!

  10. Ronnie Barnes says

    The quality of the initial encounter has a lot to do with our remembrance also. Whenever Peter recalled being on the mt. of transfiguration, he did so with such clarity after many decades (2peter). I am sure that whatever we rehearse and review in our minds and hearts will retain all the full color of the initial experience; and if we fail to review and remember, we undoubtedly lose the fullness of what was experienced.

  11. Mark Napior says

    Thank you Jon. This is especially encouraging right now, as moments ago my wife and I received the call that our fertility procedure did not work (5 attempts in the last 10 months.) As I hugged my wife and cried out to God, I opened my eyes to see our daughter smiling at us. While it is so painful as we wonder why God is not giving us another child, we still have the one to love and see every single day, and remind us that God is still good.

  12. Kevin says

    This is why I’ve started journaling. It helps to remember. I keep mind on Google Drive so that whether home or away, all I have to do is get on my phone and access it. It definitely helps when I’ve been praying for something for a long time.

    I’ve been asking for healing in two different parts of my body that aren’t exactly “curable” in a human sense. Scoliosis of my spine is one. The other is my vision. I’m 34, and for my entire life I’ve had some of the worst vision of anyone I know, short being blind. I have myopia (nearsightedness), amblyopia (a lazy eye) and nystagmus (what people know as “dancing eyes”). It has made it tough to drive even with glasses. Without glasses or contacts, I can’t see clearly more than three feet in front of me.

    Dealing with both of those is not easy, but remembering what God has done in the past gives me a measure of peace. He’s God, I’m not.

  13. 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…

  14. 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!

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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 macek.jon@gmail.com

  20. 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.


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