God is careful.
As I sit in stillness and contemplate God’s goodness, I suddenly envision my childhood toys: a Barbie dream house, a colorful tent, vibrant pastels. My mother would lavish these toys on me in great pleasure. However, in my older years, she told me that she’d purposely deny some of my requests for gifts, not because she didn’t want to give them to me (in fact it caused her pain to withhold them from me), but because she wanted to make sure she didn’t spoil my character with them.
Now I wonder, is this how God lavishes gifts on us? When He gives to us does it give Him joy? When He withholds from us, does it hurt Him? Does He only withhold from us if truly it is for our good both now and forever?
I struggle often believing that God is only giving me just enough to get by. I feel like He lets me feel the pain of life until I almost can’t bear it and then, and only then, He relieves me. I know that there are many verses that talk about God’s intentionality, how He works out everything for the good of those He loves and of those who love Him. I believe that in the very long term, that in the view of Heaven, this is true. I believe that God is good, and I will see it eventually.
But imagine this. God in full focus stands intently before an unimaginably intricate control board. With infinite caution, forethought, logic, and compassion, He maneuvers each switch. He is the ultimate strategist. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, concretely, and abstractly, He engages with the entire universe, with all creation, to do exactly what needs to be done to maximize what is best for us not only in Heaven but also in Earth. What if He is not just making the most out of what will eventually be for our good, but He is actually also making the most out of each moment for our present good. What if we are actively receiving infinite and shrewd goodness every millisecond, whether it feels good or bad. What if the only thing God asks of us is to believe in Him when we neither understand nor perceive this goodness, not only because He is good, but also because He is incredibly brilliant and just the right mix of confident, careful, and compassionate.
And just like my mom, He only says no to my requests when He knows it is what is good for me not only tomorrow but also today.
You see, this may not sound too different than believing God works for the good of those who love Him, but when I think of that phrase, I tend to focus and thus find the big picture reasons or rewards. It’s easy for me to generally think of His sovereignty in creating the far future. But that’s not enough for me, and that’s certainly not all that God is offering. To actively receive what God is offering, I choose in this blog post and in my consciousness to consider His goodness right now. To focus on the God who details my current experiences and navigates me through them with extreme intentionality in this moment. This is the God of abundant presence and interaction that I want to permeate every breath I take and every move I make. This is the God of now.
Right now I am weary of believing in God’s goodness. Right now I don’t feel like I have much left in me to muster up these thoughts, no matter their truth value. But join with me in imagining God with sweat on His brow working on our lives. Join with me in imagining the God of today. Because it is His promise that we receive His abundance today.
Almighty Lord, forgive me for trusting You as the God of the past and future, but not as the God of the present. Forgive me for not fully trusting You. Intricate Creator of this moment, do not leave me to these thought patterns and the real life consequences of not putting my hope in You. Increase my trust, but also heal the wounds that have formed from the struggles of my flesh. I want unmitigated communion with You. I want You. I put my trust in Your control board. All my love to You. All of my faith in Your goodness. In Jesus’ name, amen.