Monday, January 5, 2015

What God Gives Us: The good and the bad?

I spent the first week of January at a conference in Florida with some students from USI. The conference was to help the students and those who minister on campuses grow in their faith and learn how to share that faith with others.

One of the speakers was a young mother who spoke about how sometimes it's hard for us to see how what God is giving us is actually good for us. We ask for a sickness to be healed, for a job to work out for us, or for a test to go well. And what we receive is sometimes not what we asked for.

She then talked about her 5-month-old son who is teething. She pointed out that anyone who is ever been around a teething toddler knows that if it can be reached, it will be chewed on. Sometimes, she said, her son reaches for a knife or a fork at the dinner table, because he wants to gnaw on it a bit to soothe his gums. He doesn't realize what he really needs. He just knows that he has a need. 

We do the same thing. We reach for what we think will help soothe our pain or need, but sometimes we grab things that are not actually good for us. And when God, our Father, takes those things away or offers us something different, sometimes that's hard to accept. It doesn't look like a gift. It doesn't feel like love.

But it is. Because God always knows what we need and will always give us what is good for us. Jesus said, “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?” (Lk 11:11-12) When we are searching for something that is good, God won't give us a bad gift.

As we look at the time of new things, maybe a good resolution – or at least the beginning of a habit – might be to look at the root of what we are asking for in prayer. Maybe rather than asking for a particular antidote, maybe just telling God what hurts would be enough. As a child tries to tell his parents, we can let our Father know how we are feeling or what is troubling us and simply ask for whatever gift He has already prepared to offer to us.