The acts of goodness that most amaze us are the undeserved and unexpected acts. We remember them. The young man who takes off his own shoes and gives them to a homeless man whose shoes are in tatters. The policeman bringing food to someone begging on the street instead of arresting them. People like Mother Theresa who left a life of Western comforts to devote herself to the poor of India. I remember as a child someone who used to treat me a bit harshly and then one day did something unexpectedly kind to me. It’s been more than 50 years and I don’t remember the specifics of her harsh side but I distinctly remember that kind act. Such acts bring us to tears. They revive our hearts. They give us hope. Why? Because we instinctively long for such gracious goodness in a world so lacking in it. I read the internet news almost daily and what I see there is that for every act of gracious goodness, there are five or ten stories of murder, cruelty and betrayal. These rare acts of goodness help to restore us in the face of such cruelty and wrongdoing.
And yet we do not see that our lives and the lives of the entire world are bathed in the gracious goodness of God. God created this world knowing what we would do with it. He could have simply said no to the very idea of the world. He could have decided the world was not worth the trouble. After all, the world breaks his heart every moment of every day. Who needs that? But for the sake of the love he decided to lavish on us, God decided we were worth all the pain we would inflict on him. Gracious goodness. Faithful goodness.