The good things

We’ve all had this conversation….

Person 1:  Hey! How are you?

Person 2:  Good!  How are you?

Person 1:  Good!

I always wonder what “good” means when people respond with that.  What is their life like behind that simple sentence?  Some people are being truthful, things really are good.  Others are simply being polite.  Most of us are just on autopilot, myself included.

It seems like “good” is subjective. One person’s “good” is another person’s nightmare.  For example, a good day for Lebron James would be to win the NBA finals for the Miami Heat.  This would be my nightmare (thunderup). 

You get my point.  How do we really define what is good?

When things get hard, then it’s REALLY difficult to define the good things.  I have a tendency to develop tunnel vision when I’m faced with a problem or solution that is complex; something that is not easily solved or dealt with.  If I’m not careful, it permeates my mind until that’s all I think about.  The good things in my life fade into the background when I’m focused on the pain. 

How can I possibly see the good things when the pain is literally blinding? 

James 1:17 says:

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” 

I used to think that these were the “good and perfect” things that James is talking about:

  • Having minimal problems
  • Monetary security
  • Relationships/friendships with no conflict
  • Success
  • A good reputation
  • Recognition
  • Talent/Skill
  • Physical health

If you had all these things then you were blessed with the good gifts.  I had all of these.  My family had all of these.  Yay for us.

But then my life got crazy.  One by one, all these things were stripped away.  My perfect life disappeared and all that was left were the hard things. 

Why would God tease me like that?  Why would he give me all these good and perfect gifts and then take them away?  Where did they go?  More importantly where had God gone?  I felt abandoned.  Like He was no longer paying attention to me.  God and his big Santa bag of blessings has disappeared.

Then I read this:

“Hell is the absence of God.”

Reality check.  This is not Hell. Don’t kid yourself.  This is Earth, you are alive.  God is still here.  His good and perfect gifts are still here, you’ve just been looking in all the wrong places.  

The good and perfect gifts, I discovered, were the things that I couldn’t give to myself (they come from the Father – now James is starting to make more sense).  These gifts are things I couldn’t create or will into existence or SUSTAIN in my own power.  Just to name a few….

  • Breath
  • My heartbeat
  • Salvation
  • My amazing husband
  • Real friendships
  • Peace in my mind
  • Laughter
  • Understanding
  • Patience

All this time, I had been defining my earthly comfort as God’s perfect gifts.  Yikes.  Now I see the error in that.  But what about all the hard things that are still in my life?  What do I do with those?  I discovered there was one gift that I was overlooking more than all the others – suffering.

“Not only so, but wealso glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5

We are eager to jump to the gifts of hope, character, and perseverance.  But what gets us there?  SUFFERING. 

I am learning to accept this gift.  Why?  Because through suffering I receive the greatest gift of them all.  HIMSELF.  

“…God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been GIVEN to us.”

Our goal is not comfort.  Our goal is Christ.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for this. It’s so what I needed to hear. Love you and praying for y’all 🙂

    Brooke

    Reply

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