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Accepting Gifts
(January 8, 2001)

      By Fern Horst

"What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips." (Job 2:10)

If anyone ever had reason to complain, Job did. Stripped of his family, his possessions, and his health, he was truly a broken man. The Bible indicates that Job grieved appropriately and deeply over his losses. He was also not without his questions for God in wondering why he was experiencing all these extreme calamities.

But when even his wife had given up hope in God's goodness towards him, Job did not. His answer to her was incredulous, "If we willingly receive the things we want from God, why should we not also willingly receive those things which we do not want, should He choose to give them to us?"

Somewhere along the way we get the idea that all our gifts from God should be those which we desire -- we really shouldn't be denied anything which we may want. The first temptation from Satan in the Garden of Eden followed this exact theme, and he is still at the job of deceiving God's children. The deception is thinking that God is not good to us if He holds back certain gifts, or takes certain ones from us. As a result we think that we have the right to take matters into our own hands and get what we want regardless. The results are often as disastrous as they were for Eve, and as disastrous for those around us as they have been for every one of Eve's descendents.

As in the case with Job, God has far greater purposes than the meeting of certain human desires. He sees the whole picture, from eternity past to eternity future, and He knows what is best for us and for everyone around us as well. So when He either directly gives or simply allows certain things to be denied us, or taken away, we can trust that He is able to work everything together for good, in spite of the bleakness of the situation, and the heaviness of our hearts.

Our challenge is to meet everything that comes our way as Job did, with a willing acceptance because we can trust our God who has everything in His control. At times He will give us those gifts which we really want; at other times He gives just the opposite, or causes us to wait longer than we had wished, and it is hard for us to understand His goodness.

Acceptance on our part does not mean that we will not grieve at all, but acceptance itself reveals hope — hope in a God who has promised to use all that He gives us for His purposes, and that He truly will work everything together for good. If we have any doubts, we can read again the account of Job. As devastating as his losses and pain were, in the end God gave him even more than he had before: "And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.... So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning" (Job 42:10, 12).

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