good gifts

There are two realities to which you must cling. First, God has promised that you will receive the love you have been searching for. And second, God is faithful to that promise.

So stop wandering around. Instead come home and trust that God will bring you what you need. Your whole life you have been running about, seeking the love you desire. Now it is time to end that search. Trust that God will give you that all-fulfilling love…                                        

 

These words, written by Henri Nouwen, draw our attention to one of the secrets of most followers of Jesus:

We follow Jesus because we want all the life the Bible describes as coming only from him. We want the love, the acceptance, the spiritual deepening that only he gives, but most of us don’t really trust him to provide it in our lives.

 

Do I trust God to give me what I need for life?

Do I trust him to love me the way I need to be loved?

  

Automatic responses from followers are at the ready. We jump up (in our minds) to assure ourselves that we do without question. Of course we trust God to do what he says! To be who he claims to be in our lives!

Or do we?

Nouwen  invites us to look at our own wandering. Where do we find ourselves pursuing love and acceptance? With whom do we truly give the authority to pronounce us valuable or lovable?

  • What if my employer decides I ‘m not worth the continued cost of employment? Does my value take a hit?
  • What if my family fails to provide what I am really longing for in relationship or companionship? Do I assume it is because I am flawed as a person?
  • What if my friend no longer finds my company as riveting and desirable as before? Does my perception of my worth as a person plummet?

And people are only the first place we look for value and worth. Eventually, we’ll move on from people to power or pleasure, or security. The pursuit of having my needs met perfectly is a futile one if I wander anywhere other than where Jesus is.

It’s easy to wander about looking for others who can give me the love I long for and the relationship I was created to experience. Henri Nouwen says stop wandering around. Trust God to give it to you.

The amazing thing about trusting God to fulfill my needs for love and companionship is that he will, if we trust him, use those around us to help meet those needs. But it will always come from him, even if it comes through others.

 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though 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 7:7-11

 

We love to relegate these verses to the realm of material possessions; to “stuff” we ask for. But I am convinced that God knows how to give the good gifts of love, self-worth, and acceptance as well, if not better than the stuff we seek. But we have to confront the issue of trust.

Do we trust God to fulfill us, or do we continue to try and manufacture love and acceptance through our work, our relationships, or our toys?

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