I’m really writing this post to tell you one truth I discovered about God today. But I’m going to tell you a story first.
Last week, our skies brought six inches of snow to our rooftops and yards and trees. It’s been great. I love the snow. And the snow has stayed, although it’s moved from a soft blanket of powder to an rigid ledge of ice in recent days. But today, the skies opened once more, this time with rain, and the snow began to melt from the trees and the ground.
I decided to take a walk through the woods this afternoon, after the rain had gone, and I came upon the intermittent stream that runs through our property. For days now it has been silent with still, icy strains, but today, quiet melodies of laughter rose from its wet banks.
I felt as if I were in Narnia, when Aslan came and broke the spell of the White Witch, and spring covered the cold, white winter with the warmth of joyful greens. I walked along the water’s trail, ducking under tree branches and side-stepping fallen logs. My little dog, Bear, was hopping around the edges of the stream, dipping her toes into the cool water and barking at the small waterfalls that spilled over sticks and leaves. Water dripped from tall, green trees. The sunlight broke through branches and needles in a mosaic of light.
My heart filled with great joy, and I began praising God. Who am I to live this beautiful kind of life, a life where I can know my Creator and be loved by Him? Who am I to behold such wondrous beauty in a world He meant for our joy? Who am I to get to live in this place, with this wife, with this daughter, with this family, with these friends?
And then these words came from the lips of my heart: God, I love your gifts. They are so good and precious. But even more, I love you apart from your gifts.
This is a truth I want to live out more fully. It means seeing God’s gifts as for my good, whether those be gifts of blessing or gifts of loss. It means rejoicing in those gifts, because God means for us to find great pleasure in them. And it means always treasuring the Giver above the gift, because He is our greatest pleasure.
I’m reminded of a heart-stopping, mind-bending question from God Is The Gospel. John Piper asks, “If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauty you ever saw….could you be satisfied…if Christ was not there?”
May it be so in my life and yours, that we could answer no in a real and heartfelt way. May we find pleasure in the thousands of gifts of blessing and loss in our own lives. And may we find our greatest joy, not in His gifts, but in Him.
Question: Do you find that you primarily love God, or His gifts?