Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father,  James 1:17a, NLT

This season God has been teaching me about Himself as the giver of good gifts.  I must admit that this has been refreshing after receiving teachings and life experiences on God using brokenness and suffering to bring us closer to Him.  In an effort to challenge the ‘prosperity and wealth’ gospel that teaches that God gives material, spiritual and physical blessings to those who believe in Him, there have been many well-meaning teachings on God’s desire to use brokenness to draw us closer to Him. I have seen and heard so much about suffering that I along with others have become afraid the other shoe is going to drop in my life.  But hey, I will know Jesus more, won’t I?

Just as prosperity and wealth can become glorified causing people to expect only blessings from God, suffering can become glorified causing people to expect only gloom and doom from God.   Just as God uses brokenness to draw us closer to Him (Genesis 37-45), God also blesses people with good gifts to demonstrate His love (Lk 11:9-13; James 1:17).   It is important that a believer holds these two truths together, never separating one from the other.

In the story of Job, we see these two truths work together.  In Job 1:1-12, God gives permission for Satan to inflict suffering on Job.  Job went through a season of deep brokenness and suffering but held onto his faith through it all.  At the end, Job experiences God intimately (Job 19:25) and God rewards His faith with many good gifts and blessings (Job 42:10-17).  We also see God blessing Hannah with a son, Samuel, after struggling with infertility for years (I Samuel 1:1-20).  Then, there is the Gospel.  God freely gives us the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.  Through all these stories, the end of the story is God’s blessings of good gifts.

This Thanksgiving season I am focusing on praising God for the many good gifts He has given in my life.  I must admit it feels strange to me.  I sometimes feel like I am not a good Christian and I should hope only for suffering and brokenness in my life.  However, God is releasing my heart to worship Him in the good gifts He has given to me.  He has blessed me with a wonderful church that I love.  He has blessed me with an amazing husband who is the hands and feet of Jesus to me.  He has blessed me with a healthy baby boy and another one on the way.  He has blessed me with wonderful family and friends that I love dearly.  When I reflect on the things that God has given to me, I am overwhelmed by His abundant love, kindness and mercy.  Thank you, sweet Jesus, for being a giver of good gifts.  ~ Edna