Is God Good All the Time?

Are you ever tempted to doubt God’s goodness when you face suffering?

My pastor recently gave a sermon that focused on believers in Christ suffering affliction. He shared that African Christians have a greeting that says “God is good all the time.” The person receiving the greeting responds with “All the time God is good.” This greeting and response is also common in predominantly black Pentecostal churches in America.

Having recently gone through some significant health challenges, I was encouraged by my pastor’s sermon. Moreover, I appreciate this African Christian greeting and response so I put it on my social media pages:

“God is good all the time.”

Most people loved it, but I did receive one somewhat critical response. Here is that response followed by my comment. I hope this brief exchange is helpful as we think about facing suffering and how to encourage our fellow believers when they face it as well.

While true, I dislike trite cliches, however encouraging they may be designed to be. It doesn’t help a discouraged, hurting, and confused believer. I much prefer to say the hard but poignant truth: God will cause all things to work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes. 

It doesn’t ignore, nor gloss over bitter realities. Rather, it brings the perspective that God will take the dung you’re walking through and use it to grow something beautiful if you can (like the Hebrew figure Joseph in the book of Genesis) keep your wits enough to stay faithful in loving him while walking out your calling within his purposes.

Greetings in Jesus’s name. 

What may seem like a “trite cliché” to one person (in the global north) may not be to another person (in the global south). I think you can appreciate that many Christians living in Africa are quite acquainted with the bitter realities of life. Depending on the country, African Christians face credible threats of imprisonment and physical violence (even martyrdom) from hostile secular and Islamic forces. Despite such hardships, the African continent is one of the places where Christianity is growing rapidly.

When a believer in Christ suffers affliction, be it discouragement, hurt, confusion, or even possible imprisonment and death, it’s tempting to doubt God’s goodness. I think biblical figures like Joseph, Job, and Paul, who suffered greatly, would have appreciated this common and encouraging Christian greeting.

We all in one way or another face evil, pain, and suffering in our fallen world.

Peace be with you.

Well said, brother.

Regardless of our geographical location and culture, the human condition is such that we all face suffering of various kinds. But we can often learn and appreciate insight from others who have suffered intensely and yet continue to uphold God’s goodness.


Here are some resources for you or your friends who face suffering of various kinds: