Updated: Oct 2, 2020
“...no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” — Psalm 84:11
A dear friend of mine bestowed a number of gifts on a recent milestone birthday. She has both the gift of hospitality and encouragement. These were beautifully expressed in each item wrapped with happy yellow tissue, tied with twine, and tagged with kraft paper numbers and yellow daisies. I was instructed to open them in number order. She has done this from time to time and it always feels like such a treat!
After the fact, she shared how much fun she had praying through and over the items chosen, wrapping them up, and seeking Holy Spirit guidance in ordering the numbers. God really did have divine purpose in her numbering these birthday gifts, just as He has purpose in every gift bestowed on our lives, and the order with which they are given.
I pictured her thoughtfully selecting and wrapping and organizing each gift with a heart full of joy and a smile on her face. Then the Lord replaced the image of my friend in my mind’s eye with Himself. He was literally doing it through her. He reminded that He goes about doing the same in each of our lives. He’s all about giving good gifts to His children! Scripture says, “...no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” So, if it is good for me, God gives it, and if it’s not, He withholds it.
The hard part is trying to adjust our vision to see things as good and helpful, or not, with the big picture glasses God Himself wears. Some things that come into our lives feel good, and some do not. Some hurt. Others hurt really bad. Some make sense. Others, not so much. But God doesn’t define good as what feels pleasing to our flesh and makes sense to our feeble minds. No, He sees things that develop character and perseverance, hope and faith, wisdom and holy confidence, as good for the soul. Anything that helps us become an instrument in His hands to accomplish His good purposes for our lives is deemed good. That’s how He uses hard things and broken places for the good of those that love Him (Romans 8:28-29).
In the Father’s goodness, He throws in a generous balance of “feel good” gifts too. They’re not always wrapped up in paper and tied with string, but disguised as a kind word, a helping hand, crisp autumn breeze, a picture painted sky, the sight of a rainbow, favor with the boss, a good day with a misbehaving child, beach sand beneath your feet, the sound of rain or rushing waves, and so on. You get the picture!
God’s Word instructs us to give thanks in all things, not just some (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Our response to hard things is much more telling about our faith and the condition of our heart than delightful things. Anyone can be happy when things seem to be going their way. The heart that trains itself to be grateful and voice thanks to God, even when the situation is hard, devastating, or life altering, begins to see the world with an ever increasing divine perspective.
Each day is a gift to unwrap. Each day is full of surprises and blessings. Each day gives opportunity to act or react, according to our faith. Opportunity to thank God for His goodness whether the day holds good things or hard things according to our fleshly calculations. God says all things are working together for the good of those who love Him, and that gives cause for gratitude.
I can picture it now. Like the precious yellow-wrapped gifts I received in number order, God in heaven has a sea of yellow gifts wrapped up for me. Each one thoughtfully chosen and prayed over, inventoried and organized into some divine numbering system. Today I have the opportunity of receiving God-only-knows-what-number gifts. If I recognize and give thanks for them, my heart fills up with a bit more joy and gratitude. But if I choose to look the other way by busying myself with worldly things or wallowing in some misery, they get put back on the shelf unopened.
When I complain about the gifts I’m given, my Father’s heart is saddened. My ill response questions and discounts His judgement (a sign of lacking trust and faith in God). Imagine giving a gift to your child that you took pains in picking out, only to find they have no interest in opening it, or open and complain about your choice. Ouch! That hurts the heart. Tables turned, when I respond with an ungrateful heart to one of God’s carefully chosen gifts, I miss out on spiritual growth as the recipient, and my Father misses out on the joy of giving to a child with thanks on her lips. Oh, that I would be known as an attentive and grateful daughter of the King!
RECLAIM YOUR HEART
Lord Jesus, thank You for the seemingly good things in my life, (name them). And I choose to thank You for the seemingly hard things I’m going through, (name them). Only You know what my future holds, and how You plan to use my current situation for Your glory. I believe that You use all things for my good when I keep my heart and mind fixed on You. Your ways are good. Your purposes are good. And I choose to trust You, Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.