Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows. - James 1:17
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will you father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him. – Matthew 7:11
THERE IS SO MUCH BAD IN THE WORLD
I don't know about you but I often find myself focusing on the bad in our society - and there is a lot of bad, not just in America, but in the world. Turn on the news or open up your favorite news app and I'm willing to bet most of the stories you read will be negative in nature, seeking to expose the corruption of a famous moral leader, destroying some political candidate, discussing racism, sexism or some shooting that just occurred. Our obsession with the evil in the world borders on narcissism. However, I heard a powerful story from an unlikely source that lifted my spirits and reminded me that God is good.
BUT GOD IS GOOD
Recently in my history class I asked my students, "What is your favorite story and why?" Most students shared their favorite movie or book but one young lady, who is now 17 years old, told a personal story. She shared that when she was 12 her mother was in a serious car accident and was temporarily paralyzed from the neck down. She required extensive rehab and even to this day she has some difficulty with basic mobility. During this time her family experienced significant financial problems due to a variety of factors related to her mother’s health. She shared her mother wanted to do something nice for her children, and even though things were tight, she bought them all tickets to have dinner on the Belle of Louisville. This gift allowed the family to enjoy something good while things were tough. While on the dinner cruise, her mom began thinking about their situation and became worried and stressed, when a lady approached their table. The woman, whom they didn't know, offered an envelope to her mother. Her mother initially resisted the gift stating she didn't need anything, but the woman replied that "she felt God telling her to give away this envelope." Upon returning home, she opened the envelope to find $500!
The girl went on to say she loves that story because it reminds her that no matter how difficult things get, God is always close and is always good. I couldn't agree with her more! The class was stunned with her story and it was such a great witness to the goodness of God.
RECIPIENTS OF A GIFT
It made me instantly think of the good things God has done in my life and the lives of my family and friends. His blessings don't always come in the form of money, but his blessings do remind me he is close and he is good. I was immediately reminded of the constant stories in scripture about the goodness of God, like splitting the Red Sea, always keeping his promises, healing the sick and saving lost souls. It made me also think upon Christ, as he is the ultimate good gift. Were we not all paralyzed at some point by our sin? In Ephesians 2:1-2, Paul goes as far as to say we were dead in our transgressions. Are we not all recipients of a gift we didn't deserve and one that paid our debts? So in this way, we have all experienced this story, as we have all been redeemed by the love of Christ! The gift of Christ and the salvation He freely gives is the greatest gift will can ever receive!
TELL US YOUR STORY
The more I thought about the story the more positive I seemed to be that day. What if we dwelled on the goodness of Christ rather than the evil of this world? How different would our lives feel? How different might our testimonies be? I also began to wonder if we might be overwhelmed by the amount of good in the world it we took time to look for it? That has become a challenge for myself and one I issue to you: focus on the good and share it with others. Have you ever been given an awesome gift and then told no one about it? Of course not! We always tell of our good gifts. In fact, if you have a story that shows God's goodness in your life, I encourage you to share that in the comment section of this blog or on your Facebook page when you share this post. I believe the story that young woman shared did more to demonstrate the power of God to the people in that room than any words I could have spoken that day.