Every Good Gift and Every Perfect Gift comes from above,
from the Father of Lights in Whom there is no shadow of turning.
It is nearly Christmas and there is both pressure and delight to buy our loved ones “good” gifts. For me the pressure to give a good gift is not the expectation from clever marketing campaigns nor is it from the people I’m giving gifts to. The pressure is self-imposed. As the gift giver, I personally derive satisfaction from finding and buying gifts that speak to the person’s heart and I am willing to put the time and effort into the process. Because I enjoy expressing my thoughtful love for others it is honestly not a whole lot of work for me.
The perspective I take on giving gifts presupposes that I have a connection, or intimacy with the person I’m giving the gift to. I need to know what they like, what they love, what they dislike, what they already have, and what they want and or need. I also like to think about our relationship and if there’s something meaningful or relevant between us that the gift can speak to in order to highlight and deepen our unique connection. A good gift is one that moves the person you give it to because you were moved by them.
Can you relate to what I am talking about? Have you ever given a gift that when your friend or loved one unwraps it, it just blows them away, that they are so touched by the love and act of being seen and thought of to have been given a perfect gift? Last year for Christmas I gave a friend a sewing machine. I prayed about what to get this friend and I had peace about getting her this gift even though it was more money than I would have normally spent. My friend’s heart’s desire is to learn how to sew to make dresses for impoverished children. When she unwrapped the box, she burst into tears of joy and I cried too knowing what a special moment God called me into by giving a gift that was an answer to her prayer and a medium to fulfill her dreams.
I have to admit I don’t always pray about what to get people, but it was one of those beautiful moments where my heart of love and giving was aligned to God’s heart of love and giving for this person and it touched my friend’s heart with the love and generosity of such an act. It was so immensely rewarding and worth the cost of that gift.
Did you realize that God has the same heart of intentional, loving giving? That He is the God of good and perfect gifts? James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above from the Father of Lights in whom there is no shadow of turning.” I’ve been chewing on that scripture for years, and truly I’ve had limited understanding of what it means. Recently I’ve been meditating on it again, and I asked God when am I going to really understand this, His heart for me and what His good and perfect gifts are.
I love giving as good and perfect gifts as I can but there seems to be a deficit of receiving some of them in my life. I have promises from God about having a husband, having children, building a successful business, traveling the world, that seem so out of reach at times. It has caused me aggravation and frustration. It has caused me to get to the end of myself of what I believe about God, my faith, and my trust in His goodness and perfection. It has been especially hard because I come from a traumatic background. My childhood home was unstable, ever changing, there was no peace, and no clear expectations of what life would be like from day to day. There were many shifting shadows. It was discomforting, anxiety provoking, and it has had carryover of how I perceive God or what I can expect from Him.
I believe that He is good more than ever, I know His heart of love for me, but often times I feel like I am walking not even by faith, but blindly groping in the dark for a more complete revelation. I want to know and I want to see the manifestation of His delight in me. Is it in the answered prayers or just in the empty tomb? Is that supposed to be enough? Some days it seems a paltry answer and the admonishment to wait on Him is insufficient.
The other day I had a particularly hard day wrestling with past disappointments and hope for the future. I was trying to comfort myself in the word and in the scripture, in worship and in prayer but to no avail. I was in a funk for hours. Even my patients noticed something was off. About lunch time when I was overwhelmed by everything going on in my life, I realized I was under attack and I called out to the Lord to help me. The pressure subsided and there was more peace throughout the day. I still wasn’t in a great mood or had great faith or anything, it was just at least peaceful.
As the day ended and I was packing up to leave work, I reached out for my phone to find a message from a sister in the Lord. We have some history together but are connected more by our shared faith in God, and some difficult seasons in our lives. We are connected by our desire to see God’s goodness and the hope and faith in midst of trial and tribulation. She has blessed me with her persistence and perseverance of waiting on and trusting God for promises in her own life. When she had cancer and chemo and was unsure if she’d ever be a mom she walked through the valley of the shadow of death by His leading hand and today she’s a mom to two beautiful children. Apparently God had put me on her heart and she sent me a message:
“Was thinking of you today and felt like God told me to tell you that past disappointments will not steal the hope of your future, and it’s safe to have extraordinary expectations.”
I was seen and the vault door of unbelief was dynamited open for me to see and for me to believe and for me to step into the understanding God has an answer for me on earth as it is in heaven.
How can I be so sure?
I woke up the next morning with a song, I lift my eyes to the hills where does my help come from, my help comes from the Lord. Psalm 120. And it clicked. I got it – James 1:17.
My help is the Lord. My helper is the Lord. The helper is my good and perfect Gift from God, the Father above. He is the deposit of things to come. Yes Christ died. Yes Christ Rose. And Christ is coming again. He came down again the other day to deliver me when I called out to Him to break the funk and He came down again to encourage and remind and comfort me that I am not alone, I am seen, I am loved, I am valued, I am treasured. He is the good and perfect gift. Father, Son. Spirit. Past. Present. Future. Forever.
He knows my exact address, my exact location, my exact circumstance, my exact need, and He is my comfort, security, reassurance, Love. He sent His Holy Spirit forth that day, the living word, to meet me in a Hagar moment where I was stumbling around looking for drink and desperately calling out for Him, and He gave me drink. He is the God who sees.
It gave me strength for the day and empowered me once again to look expectantly for the fulfillment of the promises He has given me for my life. He does not leave things undone. I have more faith in His goodness, His perfect gifts because I know He sees me and I’m not alone. This good and perfect gift of His presence, the beauty of His resplendent face is the light in the darkness we are awaiting during Advent for Christmas. Let us revel in His goodness and perfect Love as we await once again His coming not just in remembrance of Christmas but in expectation of the second coming where He will rule and reign and wipe away all of our tears, where we can rejoice in arriving to His perfect rest finally and forever.
By now most people will have already have gotten their gifts, but maybe this musing is a nice reminder even in our daily lives, God has given us beautiful illustrations and opportunities to enter into and to participate in His good and perfect love. Even if you don’t nail the perfect gift, you get the wrong color, wrong size or maybe you’ll have to return a gift or two, .. you can rest assured that God is serious about fulfilling, about delivering His good and perfect gifts to you! Look for His treasures and I am sure you will find them this Christmas.
Many blessings as we draw ever closer to Christmas, May you days be filled with the light of His Love and devotion for you and all that you esteem dear.
For Further Thought:
Have you ever received a good and perfect gift from a friend or a loved one?
What was it?
How did it make you feel?
What affect did it have on your friendship with that person?
What gifts are you waiting upon God for?
How do you feel about it? Are you hopeful and expectant or weary and frustrated?
Do your childhood beliefs affect your expectancy that God is delighted to give you His best?
What would it take to know that you are seen by God in that area of waiting?
What is evidence that He is with you even if you don’t see the fulfillment of the promise yet?
For further encouragement take a listen to Jason Upton's A God Who Sees: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j6Y7XbODQk