16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.
Remember when you were a child? Do you recall gift-receiving occasions – Christmas, or perhaps your birthday – when you received gifts that you weren’t asking for, gifts that you didn’t appreciate? If you were like me, it was because you were hoping for gifts of fun and pleasure: toys, sports equipment, or some new technological device. But your parents, or perhaps a grandparent, in their great wisdom gave you a gift that wasn’t any fun at all: clothing, a practical household item, or something to encourage you to change an unhealthy habit like a book or a cleaning item … or a Bible.
They weren’t trying to disappoint you. They weren’t mad at you. They didn’t hate you. They were concerned about your health, your welfare, your eternal destiny … and they knew that was more important than any temporary pleasure.
They may not have known it, but they were imitating God. Every good gift and every perfect gift that we receive in our lives comes from the Father, who always has our best interests at heart. We may not think so at the time, just as many in the Bible didn’t. Think about Joseph being sold into Egypt, Naomi and Ruth losing their husbands, Peter in chains, and Paul’s thorn in the flesh. But in every gift, every situation, God made a greater good come of a gift that seemed unkind or even harsh at the time.
God is not a McDonald’s: He doesn’t give us exactly what we want when we want in the way we want. But He is good; He is love; and every gift He gives is good … eventually. Have patience, give Him time, let Him work it out, and watch with eager anticipation to see what He accomplished through it.
Word of God: speak! Non nobis Domine+
by Fr. Dana Jackson