Praying for God’s Good Gifts
Matthew 6:5-14; 7:7-11
11 If you then, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!Matthew 7:11
I love to give gifts to my children, now 26 and 32 years old. Christmas is the best – they receive three gifts each and there is a budget. They supply me with a list of more than three items – since we all want it to be a surprise. Sometimes it’s compiled like a grocery list but more often it filters in through a text or in conversations. I wrap the gifts in boxes of various shapes and sizes all in an effort to disguise the contents. For instance, a pair of running shoes may be wrapped in a long cylinder box, while a watch may be in a tennis shoe box. Because of the limit they know that they won’t get everything they’ve asked for – this means they really have to think it out and ask carefully – they often prioritize but the top of the list may not be what is under the tree. Nonetheless, they are always delighted and I am always filled with joy at how pleased they are – even with those packages that are totally rogue – you know – the item you see and think, ‘hmmm? I really think she might like that, or this might be better for her …. and then you wrap it – all the while hoping and praying she sees the good in it and the love behind it.
I’m sure by now you’re wondering what in the world this out of the blue story has to do with our passage today. All I can tell you is that when I began to write this devotional – this is what came to mind. I was reminded of how God doesn’t always tell us how something will be. He does however allow us to talk to Him about our desires and needs and concerns. (1 Peter 5:7, Phil 4:6-7, James 1:4 and 5:14 …) In love, He hears and considers our requests (John 16:23-24). We ask, we seek, and we knock – as Jesus taught – and then at just the right time we receive what we asked for , or find what we were seeking, or we watch the door open. The similarities to our yearly adventure don’t stop there though. Just like with the girl’s presents what we receive doesn’t always look like what we asked for or sought, and when that door opens what’s on the other side isn’t necessarily what we had in mind. However, all of it is good because God is good and His gifts are always good. No, His answers to our prayers won’t always be what we hoped for or wanted but they are given with His sovereign knowledge that it is the best gift or answer for us. We can always know that He has given or answered out of love and with a good purpose – and that He makes no mistakes. And, if you look close enough with each answer you will find traces of His heart in the shape of grace, love, joy, peace, mercy, hope, provision, compassion and more. May we learn to trust these truths and in faith receive and use each gift or answer He gives – according to His glory and pleasure.