A Mother’s Hand

It was a perfect day in the summer of 2007. My husband, my three children, and I were on vacation. That morning, we were at the beach. My kids and I sat in the shallows of the lake, playing, the sun warming our skin and the water swirling around us.

As I looked down through the sparkling, clear water to the rocks at the bottom, I saw a leaf come floating into view on the water’s surface. It was a pretty little leaf, perfectly formed and with interesting colors. I captured it with my hand and closed my fingers over it. “Ellie,” I said to my four-year-old, “I have something for you.”

“What is it?” she asked.

“It’s a surprise,” I said, “but you’ll like it.” I expected her to close her eyes and hold out her hands, so I stretched out my closed hand. The only problem was, she didn’t close her eyes or hold out her hands.

Instead, she reached for my hand. “What is it?” she repeated.

“You’ll like it; I promise,” I said.

Instead of preparing to receive my surprise, she began to pry at my closed fingers.

“I promise,” I said.

My assurances didn’t help. She continued to pry at my fingers, so I gave up and opened my hand.

“It’s a leaf,” she said happily.

Sure enough, she thought it was pretty, and sure enough, she enjoyed her surprise. So why hadn’t she been willing to take my word for it about how much she enjoyed it, and to close her eyes and stretch out her hands?

The answer was that she didn’t trust me. She thought I was joking—that I might be trying to convince her to believe me so that I could have the fun of making her look foolish for having believed me. She wanted to be sure that she really was getting something of value before she committed her emotions to trusting me.

Dear friends, do we respond to God the same way? He has promised in His Word to give us so many good things, to pour out blessings on us in abundance. Do we sometimes doubt His goodness? Do we want to pry open His hand to see what He is giving before we commit our emotions to trusting Him?

It’s true that sometimes I tease Ellie, but I never try to make her look foolish. I would never draw her into believing me, only to deliberately disappoint her and laugh at her innocent trust. And if we, being human, would never do such unkind things to our children, why do we suppose that God, being perfectly loving, would ever do such a thing to us?

Granted, God’s blessings are not always what we want or understand. Sometimes, we can be bitterly disappointed when we fail to receive what we wanted (and maybe even prayed desperately for), or when we do receive what we didn’t want. Does that mean we are justified in our wariness of God and His blessings? Can we legitimately say, “Sometimes God isn’t good or doesn’t do good?”

Let me remind you of something that is clearly taught throughout the Bible, over and over. God is always good. He is never evil. And He never has less than a completely loving thought toward us. Yes, God sometimes fails to give us what we want. Yes, God sometimes gives us what we don’t want. But oh, dear sister, don’t let that make you doubt His goodness. Either God is good all the time—and therefore worthy of our lives and our worship—or He isn’t.

And He is. Oh, He is.

I’ve had many griefs and disappointments in my life. Some of them have been close to crushing, where but for God’s goodness, I would have been destroyed. And yet I testify through faith and through my experience in knowing God that He is always good and always loving.

It’s okay not to like what God does, or fails to do. God understands that. But don’t let your displeasure with His actions make you question His character.

God is good…all the time.

God loves you…all the time.

There is a song that encourages Christians by saying, “When you don’t understand, when you don’t see His plan, when you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.”

Even now, God is stretching out His hand toward you, offering you the riches of His abundant goodness. Will you trust Him to believe that what He has for you is good, even before you know what it is? Or at least that He will use it to your good, even if it involves tragedy?

Will you trust His heart toward you, even when you don’t know what’s in His hand?

James 1:17—Every good and perfect gift is from above.

John 3:16—For God so loved [you] that he gave his only son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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