A good father gives good gifts.
This is a concept that I don’t struggle with. At leat not the statement itself.
I was fortunate to grow up with an awesome Dad who provided for my needs and many of my wants. So, the fact that God would do that too, doesn’t stretch my imagination too far.
And yet it does.
I was talking about this with some friends from church last week and it has been coming up in the study I am doing this Lent season.
God gives good gifts. Tons and tons of them.
For some people, that alone is tough to process because they grew up in environments where that doesn’t seem plausible. Where their loved ones didn’t provide good gifts, so the concept that God would is tough to grasp.
For me, it is tough to process because that is a lot of gifts. And those gifts don’t always seem good.
The thing is, that sometimes we are so needy that we miss out on the real gifts. And we miss out on the biggest gift of all, Jesus.
In church a couple weeks ago, we were talking about how we really shouldn’t be giving God ultimatums. Because ultimatum faith is not faith at all. The concept that we will believe if we see a sign. We will believe if good things happen. That our faith is based on our day to day experience only. That can’t be the case. There needs to be trust. Our reality needs to be changed.
Realistically, there have already been signs. The whole water into wine thing… A sign that God provides the best for his people. The whole healings and miracles chunk of time, again, sign of provision, sign of who He is, etc.
Should that be enough?
I mean, there is a place for seeking signs. It happens in the Bible. But, in our discussion it was that people sought signs in faith that God would respond. And it wasn’t an I’ll do this if you do that kind of sign. It was a seeking evidence for God’s will sort of thing. And even then, if you get down to it, often, it was more of a confirmation because the human was doubtful than a necessity.
I am an empirical person, so I admit that it is tough for me sometimes, as I am sure some of you reading this think I am bat crazy. But, I have read around the manuscripts and the origins of the documents and have drawn conclusions that God and Jesus make sense to me. And that those gifts are good gifts. And that the changes in me are good gifts that couldn’t be because of me alone.
The reading I have been doing asked the question last week that also kind of followed along with something we were discussing at church.
How would the presence of God be more satisfying to you than answers from God? –Huag and Walker (2013)
Agh. That is a tough one.
I would love to say that I am super holy and that the presence of God is always satisfying without answers.
I would be lying.
Realistically, I know the statement is true. The presence of God is comfort and peace and joy, but it just isn’t simple and happy go lucky butterflies and rainbows.
Answers are tangible. They are the evidence for an empirical mind. And I want answers because I like being worldy brand happy. I want my career to be perfect, I want my family and friends to be happy and healthy, I don’t want to worry about money or housing and I want to have kids. The thing is answers aren’t always what we think they should be and answers will only satisfy me for so long.
I have been struggling with answers. It is tough sometimes to remember that an all knowing, loving God is present when you are hurting and longing for something you can’t have.
It brings me back to ultimatum faith.
Belief because I got what I wanted and acts of faith because I want something. Or disbelief because I can’t have something. That when bad stuff happens, God must be judging us and we aren’t good enough.
It just doesn’t work long term. In fact, it can get to be soul crushing.
I have been learning, especially over the last year or so about valuing the presence of God even when things aren’t going right, when I’m not happy, when things are tough and when loss happens. I have lots of gifts. More than I can ever count. More than I realize I even have. My last couple years have been emotional roller coasters. But, I feel best in the presence of God because that is better than the stuff I have here in the long run. Sometimes the best gift is no gift at all. Just time and love.
I am striving to switch my perspective. To value the presence over the gifts all the time, not just when it is easy or when things are going terribly or awesomely. Kind of like we should enjoy time with our loved ones, not what they give us.
Presence of God is more permanent than answers. Sure, it is more fluffy sounding, but really it is more hearty.
A good father gives good gifts.
I am thankful for that. I like my gifts. But really, in order to be a good father and give good gifts, being around is key, otherwise you can’t know what to give when. You need to know who you are gifting to.
And that is why I prefer the presence of God. Even if I like the gifts.