The Marvelous Hope Of Christmas-hamimelon

Religion "You cannot show the preciousness of a person by being happy with his gifts…. What proves that the giver is precious is the glad-hearted readiness to leave all his gifts to be with him." — John Piper (from Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, p. 109) Christmas has always filled me with a sort of gift-giving performance anxiety. Will my gifts be thoughtful enough? Am I giving enough? I have a suspicion that where this really .es from is the longing for approval: What will they think about me when they get this gift? Or even, "How will they feel if they don’t get a gift? Likewise, to be painfully honest, as much as I’ve wanted not to care about what anyone else gives me, as the holiday approaches I find a longing simmering just under the surface for a gift that validates my value. This is the root of the anxiety that hits me around my birthday and Christmas (and can make my husband go to extreme lengths to get just the right thing!) It’s all too easy to have this same kind of insecurity in my relationship with God—where I begin to judge my worth by whether I have the gifts that I most long for. And this feeling of loss is sometimes only magnified by all the holiday merriment. Let me assure you that God’s withholding of gifts certainly has absolutely nothing to do with his desire to bless us. Read Matthew 7:10-12. It wasn’t until the heartbreak of my husband and I being asking to step out of the full-time ministry (because I was floundering) and then almost going bankrupt, that I really understood that I loved God entirely for himself. Suffering is one of the surest ways God can show us the sincerity of our love—allowing us to know that we love him, not for the gifts, but for him. And that is the greatest gift of all. Remember that Jesus told Peter that the supreme expression of his love would be when he was lead somewhere he didn’t want to go and die the kind of death he dreaded (John 21:16-18). And, perhaps the rich young ruler couldn’t have known whether he loved Jesus for himself until he was ready to leave the gifts behind (Matthew 19:16-25). Why do some people seem to be flooded with the very gifts we long for? I think we’ll have to wait until we’ve totally cast away our flesh in Heaven to be ready for that answer. It at least partially has to do with the nature of faith. But I also believe it has to do with God’s perfect plan for each of us, as individual as our fingerprints. But, here’s the beautiful part. God uses our suffering, our unfulfilled longings to reach out to the world. Deferred blessings give an opportunity for others to understand the true nature of hope.* Read 1 Peter 3:15. Why would someone ask me about my hope? Because my hope defies logic. Because in the midst of family trials, of prodigal children, of financial loss, of unexpected crises, of loneliness, my hope in the Giver (God himself), rather than the gifts he gives, bursts with promise…. Unexplainable. Supernatural. Circumstance-defying. God-glorifying. Raw, yet unbelievably beautiful. Tear wrapped, yet promising shouts of joy. Shining from a cross. Drawing me to my knees. Hope. This hope, springing eternal, is the real gift we have to give to each other and to the world. And it is the only gift that really matters. "May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you." Psalm 33:22 About the Author: 相关的主题文章:

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