I suspect you are like me. I suspect that if you’re walking somewhere and see someone you know you immediately plunge into the expected civilities: “How are you doing?” “I’m good. You?” “Doing well.” At this point you have passed each other and any opportunity to continue the conversation is gone like the dew in the morning.
But I suspect, like me, you’ve also heard people rail against such pleasantries – saying they’re superficial and calling people to “get real” with one another and really share how they’re doing. Of course, it’s a noble cause until you pass that very same person and exchange the very pleasantries about which they were just complaining.
I think that despite our calls to transparency (particularly in Christian circles) and our desire to be real with one another, there’s one simple desire that trumps both of those – we want things to be good. To be honest, I don’t really want to hear about why someone’s had a bad day. Most of the time that’s not because I don’t care about them, it’s simply that I prefer to hear good news. Particularly with those I love and care about, I want them to have a good day.
And I think I’m probably not alone on that one. We hear about so much suffering and pain, that we naturally want to hear good news. While certainly we have to grapple with the reality of pain and suffering, we do ourselves a disservice when we ignore our natural, God-given desire for a perfect world. So often, when faced with pain we simply say “the world’s broken” or “we live in a fallen world.”
But Christ makes all the difference. The gospel invites me into a life that can admit I’ve had an awful day, yet also, at the same time authentically say “I’m good”. I can go through heart break, physical pain, and major life change and say “I’m good”. We can experience the tragedies of life, and still say “I’m good”. It’s not that we’re necessarily happy, but there’s a storyline that runs greater than any tragedy that we can experience: the story of Christ saving us and the hope that we have to dwell in a perfect world with him in eternity.
Certainly, that is reason enough to always say “I’m good”.