I have been contemplating the topic of God’s gifts lately, and I must say that I have been surprised at some of the things I have discovered in the process. One of the biggest questions I have been mulling over is the concept of God giving His children sneaky, underhanded, or deceptive gifts. Let me explain – but first, a verse:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:7-11
I came from a faith background that did indeed believe the above verse – that God certainly knows how to give great gifts to His children. But I also tended to believe that He was calculating these gifts – He knew how to make a gift look awesome and appealing (a new job, the birth of a new child, marriage, intimacy, a talent…), but from the beginning He planned to use these gifts to grow us – which automatically entailed that the gifts came inextricably tied into pain, challenge, struggle and trial. So we accept these gifts, knowing that God is a generous and good God, but also bracing ourselves for the difficulty they come wrapped in. After all, we have no choice in the matter (Romans 9:20)… right?
But recently, I have been given some gifts from the Lord that have made me rethink this theology. I was recently given a gift from the Lord that was almost immediately influenced by others to the point that the gift was all but lost, in my opinion. But I didn’t fight the loss – I simply accepted that the gift was gone, and I needed to trust that God was in control and using this loss to grow me. But my Pastor challenged me on this – “Why did you so readily give the gift up? Do you feel you did not deserve it in the first place? Has God not made you worthy of His love once and for all? What does this situation say about you, and what does it say about what you are believing to be true about God?”
When I took real time to think these questions through, I realized he had hit the nail on the head. I had some deep-seated theology that was greatly affecting how I was handling this situation! I did NOT feel worthy of His great gift. I did NOT feel like I had the right to stand up for myself. I did NOT believe that God had deemed me holy and worthy, once and for all, with his work on the Cross!
“And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all!” Hebrews 10:10
But perhaps I have strayed a little off topic 🙂
One thing I recognized that I had been falsely believing was that God created, allowed and used hard situations in life to grow me. As if the only goal was my growth. And this is MOSTLY truth – in that God does certainly allow hard things, and He does CREATIVELY and MIRACULOUSLY make beauty from ashes in our lives (Isaiah 61:3), but here’s where I was being deceived – I was believing that God was the Creator of these hard things. I believed that when He gave a gift, the gift was CREATED with the difficulty. Are you following me here?! It was a lie, “straight from the pit of Hell” as they say, that God creates any difficulty, struggle, trials, disease, death, etc.
Every GOOD GIFT and every PERFECT GIFT is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights!James 1:17
God gives only good and perfect gifts.
God gives every good and perfect gift.
God does not create and send adversity. Sin came into the world through Adam and Eve and the result of sin is all kinds of varying struggles. And sin will reign in this world until our Lord Jesus comes again! And He IS coming again! (Philippians 3:20) Until then, God will continue to turn awful situations, pain and loss, heartache and grief into joy. Psalm 30:11-12
May He be praised for His great goodness and kindness – may He get all the credit for every good gift we ever receive – and may He NEVER get the credit for the bad ones!
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the GIFT of God. Ephesians 2:8
For the wages of sin is death, but the free GIFT of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Having GIFTS that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them. Romans 12:6
For God so loved the world, that he GAVE his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will REWARD you. Matthew 6:4
Also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s GIFT to man. Ecclesiastes 3:13
But the free GIFT is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free GIFT by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. Romans 5:15
I remind you to fan into flame the GIFT of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he GAVE us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. 2 Timothy 1