A few months ago, late one night, one of my nieces was taken to the hospital. At first I convinced myself that “it was nothing,” but like any good aunt I was concerned. My concern intensified when tests indicated that her appendix may have burst. As I thought about all the ramifications of that potential diagnosis, I found myself pouring out my thoughts to God. As readers may know, this has been a particularly rough last year and a half for our family, and some of the struggles I have yet to share publicly. As another painful and challenging trial loomed involving someone so precious and so young, I found myself saying to God, “I need her to be o.k.” It wasn’t a request. It was a demand. I truly felt like I couldn’t take any more heartache.
As I uttered these words though, the shallowness of my faith was quickly revealed. After all, God knows exactly what I need and He has already graciously provided that in the sacrifice of His Son. If, in order for Him to be most glorified, my niece needed to be o.k., than He would provide that as well (which He graciously did.) If not, than I would still have all I need, because I would have Him.
It’s a hard truth. For most of us, God has been gracious in providing us with numerous blessings. And it’s easy to depend on those gifts, rather than the Giver. But if God, in His divine providence, chooses to remove some of those blessings, we still have more than we deserve, because He has provided a way to have a relationship with Him. On top of that, He has promised to work everything out according to His good purpose. These are blessings to which nothing on this Earth can compare. He alone can give us them.
If Jesus isn’t all I need in life, than He is not anything in my life, because I’ve relegated Him to a place that He (rightly) refuses to be. Christ is not the Lord of my life if He’s “competing” for my affection. He gets first place, or He doesn’t take any place at all. If I say I need Him, plus His gifts, than I have placed by dependency in something besides Him, and He wants to be my everything.
It was an important reminder to me. It reminded me that I need to treasure the gifts He’s given me, but never so much that I treasure them more than I do Him. And that regardless of what He gives or takes away, because I have Him, I have all I need.