Every good gift and every perfect gift!
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17
Today I was walking in the ocean, just enjoying the sun and the feel of the cold water on my feet. It was an area where there was a lot of seaweed and junk, especially since it’s been quite windy here. I had to watch my step carefully because there were a lot of things that could cut my feet; hooks, sharp glass, rusted metals, etc… But what I watched most carefully were the moving shadows, as is my habit when in the ocean. I have a ridiculous fear that I will be bitten by a shark, stung by a jellyfish, or lose a toe to a crab. I’ve always been a lover of the water, but my preference would be to be swimming in a pool just on the beach where I can watch the ocean and feel the breeze! I love to be ON the ocean, but not IN the ocean!
The shadows in the ocean make me unsure and nervous. Actually, shadows in any context tend to make me feel that way. Shadows on the ceiling when I am in bed make me wonder if there is a spider crawling above my head. Shadows when I am driving at night make me feel like some animal might be ready to run in front of my car. One time I came down the stairs in the dark at my parent’s place, and a very tall shadow in the corner made me jump and shout out in fear, thinking someone was there. Turns out, it was just a freakishly large sewn rabbit that my mom used to cover the vacuum cleaner!
These are silly illustrations, but I love the contrast to what James says of the Father in heaven. He is the Father of lights, with no variation or shadow of turning! His goodness and perfectness are steady and dependable, secure and stable. And so are His gifts! Every single one of them!
Blessed be the Lord God…Who only does wondrous things! Psalm 72:18
But, James tells us that we can be deceived. He warns us not to forget that no temptation is from God. He cannot be tempted by evil, and He tempts no one! He is not the author of evil. He takes no pleasure in wickedness and no evil dwells in Him (Ps. 5:4). When we are tempted and we sin in response, sometimes we may be upset with God that He allowed the temptation. Or, if we know better than to blame it on God, we blame it on the devil. There may be times the devil does tempt, and he certainly tempted Jesus in the wilderness; but James tells us that there is a temptation that comes from our own flesh, when we are drawn away by our own desires and enticed! When we are tempted, how quickly are we to see our own hand in it and be willing to repent? Did I place myself somewhere that I ought not to be? Did I allow a thought to be planted by the choices I made that may have opened a door for temptation? Something that I read, or that I watched? Something I allowed my mind to dwell on? Did I yield to those sinful tendencies of comparison, jealousy, self-satisfaction, laziness, gluttony, unforgiveness, bitterness, etc…?
In times of temptation, we can blame God. Or, in times of trial, we can fail to see that God is still good! We forget that He only does good continually! And that every single thing that comes from His hand is good and perfect!
As I turned around on my walk on the beach today, I was stranded by the changing tides. The water had made my path impassible, at least for walking. I was forced to find another way back to where I had started. Unlike the changing tides, God’s way never changes. If we follow the path that He has shown us, we will never have to wonder what lies ahead. We never have to take a detour. He loves us, and He can be our constant if we will just let Him!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5,6
Trust in the Lord today! Put your faith in Him, the Father of every good gift! Whether it be for eternity, if you have not been reconciled to God by accepting His free gift of eternal life in His Son; or if it be in practice, trusting Him on the path that He has placed you that might not be what you had envisioned your ‘perfect’ life to be: trust in the Giver who never changes. Feed on His faithfulness, and you will never be disappointed! For He has promised to every child of God, “I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).” What a perfect gift!