God is Good, God is Great


I learned a lot of prayers in childhood but one specific prayer has been lingering with me lately. It’s a prayer you might have learned in childhood, too. Remember this one?

God is good

God is great

Now let us thank Him

When I learned that prayer as a young child, I learned it primarily as a blessing before a meal. I even taught that prayer to my own children as a prayer before mealtime. But this morning while praying for a multitude of worrisome things and people I love and people I don’t even know, it came to me, this prayer from my childhood.

God is good

God is great

Now let us thank Him


It is full of sound theology, that prayer. Establishing first of all, God’s goodness.

We forget that all the time. It’s easy to do. Your child miscarries your grandchild. Your friend comes down with a deadly virus while caring for others. You don’t get that job you were so sure you were going to get. That cancer you thought was eradicated comes back. The person you thought was your friend betrays you.

When bad things happen people of all faiths and people of no faith begin to question God’s character. The accusations against God rage forth in discussions on Social Media and at the local coffee spot:  How could a good God allow this? Does God take some sinister pleasure in watching humans suffer?

A person would be crazy to put their trust in a sinister God. A God who delights in their sufferings. A God who acts the madman when it comes to caring for them. A God who for all practical purposes is a serial killer, picking off his victims one-by-one.

In order to live a life of faith we must first recognize God’s goodness. We must come to understand that the situations of life in which we find ourselves are not indicative of the character of God.



His goodness is not determined by world events or life crises. Nor is his goodness proven by either of those.

God isn’t a better God because you win the $66 million lottery. God is the same god he was the day before that and the day before that and the day before that.

God is good.

Remember that. You’ll need to cling to that in those no matter what times: God is good, no matter what.


The second line in that childhood prayer is a reminder of who God is in position to us.


He is mighty. He is powerful. He is creator. He is ruler above all rulers.

Stand at the base of Mt. Hood or the top of it. Look off to the Three Sisters, or climb them. Park yourself beach-side at any ocean and watch the sunrise, or the sunset. Cradle a newborn in your arms. Sit with a beloved granny. Read a story about a doctor who refuses treatment for a deadly virus so another weakened soul can receive it. Hear two people – one from Palestine, one from Israel – recall the way they became friends first, then lovers. See the raindrops on the rose. Or the unsolicited joy of the dog when you walk in the door after you’ve been away.  Hold the rail while you stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon, or while you walk down the hospital hallway following heart surgery and remember the words children recite with full hearts.

God is great.

When we fail to recognize God’s greatness, the whole word goes catawampus on us. The unimportant things of life overtake us. Our perspective becomes whacked. We disregard the meaningful.

God is great.

In our weakest moments and our most glorious victories. His greatness is not determined by who we are, or what we do or what we fail to do. His greatness is steadfast like the waves of the ocean. A constant that we can return to again and again and again.



God is good.

God is great.

But do we thank Him for all that?

It is our response to God that changes the world.

Gratitude is not about how rough or deep the waters get, it’s about how we set the sail.

Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Mother of Rain (Mercer Univ. Press).

Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.

1 Comment


about 8 years ago

Are you talking to ME? OK, I get the hint then.


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