No, It Is Not Cognitive Dissonance to Proclaim That God Is Good When Things Go Bad
There are some people who live in denial, and no amount of facts can convince them otherwise. To the contrary, the more facts you show them, the more they deny reality. “You see,” they respond with confidence, “this actually proves the point I’m making.”
That is cognitive dissonance, and it is something that any of us can fall prey to.
But, without doubt or question, it is not cognitive dissonance to proclaim that God is good, even when everything around you seems to suggest the opposite. That’s because He is good and He is God, and to proclaim His goodness is to affirm truth — the highest truth, the most enduring truth, the unchangeable truth, the infinite truth.
Yes, as surely as God is (and He is!), God is good. You can stake your eternal life on that proposition.
In the words of John, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Or, as expressed by Jacob (James), “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:27). Or, as David proclaimed in the psalms, “The LORD is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made” (Psalm 145:9).
What a Skeptic Might Say About Faith in a Good God
To be sure, a critic or skeptic or mocker might respond, “You’re guilty of the very thing you deny. You’re proclaiming empty words based on personal beliefs because you cannot accept reality. Either the God you believe in doesn’t exist or He is not good. Face the facts.”
Frankly, I understand why some people feel that way, including former believers who now identify as atheists or agnostics. Anyone who reads my book Has God Failed You: Finding Faith When You’re Not Even Sure God Is Real will know that I understand why some have lost their faith (or never believed in the first place).
But it is not cognitive dissonance that causes us to proclaim God’s goodness. Instead, it is reality that fuels our faith. It is our experience, joined by the experience of countless millions of others over the course of millennia. It is what we have discovered in Scripture. And it is what we find when we look to the cross.
We have watched God intervene in our lives, time and time again, demonstrating His love and patience and kindness.
We have experienced His presence in the deepest and darkest moments, after our prayers were not answered and our hopes came dashing down to the ground. Yet still, in many tangible and undeniable ways, He was there.
We have seen Him bring light out of darkness and life out of death, and when we were sure that no good could possibly come out of such a horrific situation, to our shock and amazement, the Lord brought something beautiful out of the ashes.
We would have to deny our own experiences, multiplied by millions and billions, to deny God’s goodness, which is why we continue to proclaim His goodness even when everything around us looks bad.
The Word and the Cross
We have also discovered amazing truth and wisdom in the Word of God, helping us face the most difficult and painful questions that anyone can ask. In fact, the Bible asks those very questions for us, giving us anything but easy answers in the process. (If you don’t believe me, then read Job and Ecclesiastes for starters.)
And, should our faith falter, we look to the cross, the ultimate expression of God’s love, remembering that, while we were yet rebels and sinners, blinded by pride and self-will, God sent His Son Jesus to die in our place. What an expression of infinite goodness!
Trusting in the Goodness of God Entirely
Recently, I was interacting with a family friend after the loss of a very close loved one after much prayer for healing and deliverance.
What was our friend’s conclusion in the midst of the pain and disorientation? What was the one thing this friend could hold on to? To quote directly, “GOD is God and there is no other. And. GOD is Good.”
This is not cognitive dissonance. This is reality. And it will stand the test of time and eternity. You do well to entrust yourself to Him entirely and without reserve.
Join me in proclaiming and believing that God is good.
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Revival Or We Die: A Great Awakening Is Our Only Hope. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.