Section 7: Salvation – Part 2
Week 1: Adoption
Day 4: God Wants His Children to Experience His Love
Matt. 6:25-34, 7:7-11
We saw yesterday that God leads us into hardships as part of his fatherly discipline. God uses those hardships to conform us into his image. As a result, life is full of trials. But life isn’t only full of trials. God gives us plenty of things that are good in their own right. It may seem obvious, but why does God give us good things?
God wants our adoption to be more than just an objective fact
In one sense God gives us good things because he is so good he can’t help but give good gifts. It’s what he does. But there’s another reason. As we’ve seen, when we put our faith in Christ, our relationship with God changes. We regain what we had lost – our right to be called God’s children. When we put our faith in Christ, our adoption into God’s family becomes an objective fact. It doesn’t matter whether we feel like God’s children or not. We are. But here’s the thing. God doesn’t just want our adoption to be an objective fact. He wants it to be an experienced fact. He gives us good things because he loves us, and he wants us to experience that love.
The problem is we miss many of the good gifts God gives us because we’re too focused on other things. That’s a problem because we’re not just missing a gift… we’re missing an opportunity to deepen our relationship.
A lesson on why we need to pay attention
The Diamond Earrings
I told you before that I wrote a short story for Jeni on our 5th wedding anniversary titled The Diamond Earrings in an attempt to get out of buying the real diamond earrings she wanted. Here’s a modified version of the story, which illustrates what we miss when we don’t pay attention to the gifts God gives us:
“Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, there was a young man who met and married the women of his dreams – Genevieve. Their fifth wedding anniversary was approaching, and the young man wanted to do something special. Genevieve always told him she wanted diamond earrings on their fifth anniversary. So, even though money was tight, that was what he was going to give her. But the traditional fifth anniversary gift was supposed to be wood. That gave him an idea. He’d make a wooden jewelry box and hide the earrings in it.
He set to work right away. When he was finished, the young man was almost giddy with excitement over his plan. He went to the jewelry store to purchase the earrings and then hid them under the velvet lining of the jewelry box. He thought they could be seen easily enough by the impression they made under the lining. When the day arrived, he couldn’t wait to see Genevieve’s reaction. He presented the jewelry box to her after dinner. He imagined she’d leap over the table in jubilation over the gift. But she merely thanked him. Over time the young man realized Genevieve never wore the earrings. He figured they must have been too small and that she was embarrassed to wear them. He felt bad he couldn’t do better by her.
As time went by, our young man became an old man and was gravely ill. Genevieve sat next to his hospital bed and held his hand tightly. She knew he would soon die. The young man opened his eyes and weakly told her, “I love you so much. My only regret is that I couldn’t afford to give you better diamond earrings than the ones I did.”
He must be confused because of all the medications, she thought. He had never given her any earrings. “What are you talking about,” she asked gently. “The diamond earrings I gave you for our fifth anniversary.” “You’re confused dear. You gave me a handmade jewelry box.” Despite the pain it caused him, he couldn’t help but laugh. “The jewelry box wasn’t the main gift. The diamond earrings it contained were.”
Genevieve didn’t know what to make of this. She went to find the jewelry box, brought it to her husband’s hospital room, and opened it. “There aren’t any diamond earring in here,” she started to say. But then… underneath the lining, she noticed something. She delicately pulled back the lining and for the first time saw the earrings her husband had purchased for her so many years ago. “They’re beautiful. I never knew.”
“You mean you weren’t too embarrassed to wear them?” “No!” Then she reached into the box and put them on. With that, our old man smiled and breathed his last.”
The moral of the story
The moral of the story for Jeni was: she’d get diamond earrings for our fifth anniversary over my dead body. The moral for the rest of us is: we need to make sure we don’t miss the gifts God gives us.
The wife in the story didn’t just miss the gift her husband gave her; she missed an opportunity to let her husband’s love for her impact their relationship. It was just one gift, but imagine you missed all the good things your spouse did for you. Your inability to see those good things would eventually have a negative impact on your relationship. Your inability to see the good things your spouse did would eventually cause you to feel unloved, even though it wasn’t true.
It’s much the same in our relationship with God. God is constantly giving us good gifts because he loves us. When we don’t pay attention, we don’t just miss out on a gift, we miss an opportunity to experience God’s love.
How good are you at paying attention to the good things God brings into your life each day? When you struggle in that area, what keeps you from noticing God’s gifts?
Think about a handful of good things God has done for you in the last month and take some time to thank him.