The first chapter of the first book in the Bible tells the story of Creation. The author wrote a lovely narrative about his ideas of an all-powerful God who decided to make a world, to fill it with every kind of living thing, and finally to populate it with creatures designed in the image of the Divine. Step by step, after each new thing is added (water, earth, shrubs and trees, birds of the air, fish of the sea, beasts of the field, and human beings) God says, “It is good.”
Put this in perspective. By the time the Hebrew author wrote his story, scientists estimate the world had been around over four billion years. Obviously the author of Genesis wasn’t writing an eyewitness report of Creation. Life had been in existence long enough that his was a genuinely imperfect world, already scarred by sin and suffering, by wars and abuses and poverty and caste systems and inequities. Thus, the statement “It is good” has both a philosophical and theological depth that we sometimes pass by without noticing. The author of Genesis was stating that God created goodness for us … and intends goodness for us … and even amid the mess of things from day to day, provides goodness to us.
If we simply pay careful attention, we will find light amid shadows, hope amid fears, strength amid brokenness, beauty amid the wasteland of the current day, and God’s presence amid our feelings of isolation. In short, no matter how bad things may appear, there’s still a lot of goodness for those who, as Jesus said, “have eyes to see.” And when we observe the expressions of goodness constantly around us, we realize that in sunshine or in shadows we still have a lot to be thankful for.