Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Good Things

I’m trying to wrap my brain around our recent good fortune. Good things are happening, and I’m not sure how to respond.

I’m praising God, to be sure. But when I think about his role in all this, I mostly get confused.

Frankly, at this moment, I think I understand bad stuff better than I understand good stuff.

Maybe I should stop and clarify. When I say “understand,” I mean as well as my pitiful human brain can at this point in my life. I cannot, nor should I, ever understand God’s ways. I’m actually ok with having some questions unanswered.

But I “get” that I deserve very little. I “get” that I have made my own bed and have had to sleep in it. Bad financial decisions have made life harder. Not stopping to listen, or learn, or think – has put me in deep water with other people. I’ve made some bad decisions. I “get” that.

And every day, almost, I worry a little that some horrible calamity will befall our family. That we will suffer grave loss or pain of some kind. Then I find myself amazed that we’ve had it so good for so long. I’m sure if I was in the midst of anguish, I would be crying out “Why me?! Take it away!!” to my God. But today, suffering makes sense. As a pathetic sinner, I have done nothing to deserve otherwise.

What then should I say when good fortune is before me? Life isn’t easy, certainly, and it’s not that we have come into some large estate that will fix all of our financial concerns. But, we are in a really good place. Kids and family are healthy. House is coming along. Baby sleeps at night. Business is good.

And it’s not because of anything I have done. It’s not a reward because I trust Jesus. It’s not because I’m good with my kids, or feed them the right food, or don’t gamble. It’s not because I said the right thing, or prayed the right way.

So what is the appropriate way to respond to blessings such as these? I am thanking God. I want to lift up His name as the one to be thanked and praised. But I don’t want people to get the wrong impression either. Looking to your Savior doesn’t mean you-get-what-you-want.

I feel that I have been trusted with much and I need to glorify Him with it. When we finally move into our new home, I want it to be used to welcome people. As a healthy family, I want us to be available for others to lean on. When we have two coats, I want to share with those who have none. When we have enough food, I want to share with those who don’t.

But I know this isn’t enough. Nothing will ever be enough. It’s not about me and what I’ve done. It’s about Jesus and what He does for us. Every one of us, in the midst of enough or not enough, thirsts for a Savior. Thirsts for someone, something, who can satisfy all our needs, all our wants. He takes the focus off of us and what we do, and He puts it where it belongs: on our Creator. He saves us from ourselves and all the messes we’ve made. Because He loves us. Because He made us, we are worthy of receiving from Him. Because He died for us, we ARE worthy of living with Him and being with Him. Because of His sacrifice, I can celebrate the good things! I can be Joyful and Happy, and I can Praise and Love! Because of what HE did, I can LIVE.

This is probably going to have to be one more thing I don’t really understand. I’d love your thoughts on this. But for now I’ll do what Paul suggests, and “Hold on to the good.” (I Thes 5:21)

1 comment :

  1. Why the good things? Purely out of God's love and mercy, which is beyond our reason as you have well stated.

    Your thoughts echo Luther's in the explanation to the first article of the Apolstles' Creed.
    "I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them.
    He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.
    He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil.
    All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.
    This is most certainly true."


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