The Nature of Bad Advice

God is good all the time, no matter what we see or feel in the moment.

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In 1903, Henry Ford’s lawyer was given some bad advice. He was advised not to buy stock in the Ford Motor Company. A local bank president told Ford’s lawyer, “The horse is here to stay.” The lawyer wisely ignored that advice and bought $5,000 worth of stock, selling it in 1919 for $12.5 million.

A great deal of bad advice in life comes from what is known at the time, informed only by the evidence present in our current reality. Because of our reliance on that failed model of interpretation, we become blinded by a shallow and short-lived interpretation of reality. Our emotions begin to take charge of our thinking, causing us to accept lies that try to pass as truth. Such was the case of the advice offered by the banker.

Last Sunday, Jan shared something she has been teaching since 1994, long before the topic of God’s goodness became popular in the Church. She shared her testimony of a conversation with the Lord that dramatically impacted her perspective about God and how she was to live her life.

In that conversation, the Lord asked Jan three questions. “Am I good?” She responded, “Yes, Lord.” “Am I good all the time?” Again. Jan said yes. “So, can you trust Me?” Jan offered a final “Yes.”  That brief yet profound interaction between Jan and Jesus changed her in a most profound way. As Jan’s husband, I have benefitted from her understanding of God’s goodness in the dark times of my life when my perception of His goodness was not yet fully formed and when nothing taking place at the time appeared good or made sense. Jan would repeat to me the testimony about her conversation with the Lord pulling me from a place of despair into a place of hope.

Last Sunday, Jan shared her testimony of God’s goodness and followed it up with the definition of what the word testimony means – “do it again.” When we share a testimony of God’s goodness, it brings the power of that truth that was experienced in the past into our current circumstance and dispels every lie that wants to gain a foothold of disbelief – disbelief with a goal to disfigure our image of a good God who is good all the time no matter what we see or feel in the moment. Jan invited the congregation to a “do it again” moment in the struggles they were facing. The response was amazing to see when hope sets up camp in discouraged hearts understanding and believing that God will do again in this present moment what He has faithfully done in the past.

There is a great deal of bad advice about the nature of God rolling around in the human experience and, sadly, within the Church. That advice is about as reliable as the banker’s advice given to Henry Ford’s lawyer. Bad advice has a similarity of content across time. It is used to define a moment and have us park in a misunderstanding and its pain, not realizing a much larger image, and a more complete understanding of reality is waiting to be embraced by those who choose to believe that God is good – good all the time.


This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Garris Elkins

Featured Image by Mitchell Griest on Unsplas

The views and opinions expressed by Kingdom Winds Collective Members, authors, and contributors are their own and do not represent the views of Kingdom Winds LLC.

About the Author

Garris Elkins is a Kingdom Winds Contributor. He and his wife, Jan, serve the global Church through writing, speaking, and mentoring. They live in southern Oregon, tucked away in the foothills of the Rogue Valley. Their shared desire is to have each person learn how to hear the heart of God and become a transforming voice in their culture.

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