Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday Musings on the Creator in Me

God's Gifts: When "Enough" Doesn't Seem Like Enough

Perhaps you know the verses I've grown up knowing . . .

My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness . . . (2 Corinthians 12:9)

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus . . . (Philippians 4:19)

We know with our minds that God gives us what we need, but do we know it with our hearts?

This past week, I became aware of just how little I truly live the truth that God supplies all our needs.  Like Adam and Eve wanting more than the abundance God had given them, I found myself questioning the sufficiency of God's gifts -- not just for myself, but for people around me. 

It all started at the airport in El Salvador. Our family had worked hard to collect gifts for our sponsored child, Jeanci, including some  homemade gifts lovingly made with her in mind.  We had packed them in my carry-on bag to ensure their safety; if the bag was with me, it couldn't get lost in the baggage department and inadvertently sent somewhere else, and maybe even lost forever. 

But in the brief moment  when I turned to get our suitcase off the conveyor belt, someone took the bag. I'd like to think it was an accident because there was another bag left in its stead. But I found the owner of the bag that was left -- and my bag never surfaced, even after an hour of airport authorities trying to help me find it. 

While I managed to hold back the tears and whisper an amen ("so be it"), I found myself asking God why? Why did I get to have all my stuff in El Salvador, but Jeanci -- with so much need in her life -- was robbed of the little bit we'd brought her? How could there be no gift for her? 

As it turned out, the awesome people with whom we traveled generously donated all kinds of toys, clothes (one woman even gave the shoes on her feet -- which I suspect were a perfect fit for Jeanci!) and school supplies, and I was able to buy some food at a local grocery store. I ultimately acknowledged that God knew better than I what she needed, and He provided it for her. But I struggled with His gift for her; it just didn't seem right that someone else had the special things that were meant specifically for her (at least in our minds).

Then, on our bus ride to the camp where we were staying, I was bombarded with images that made me question the equity of the gifts I've been given compared to what the people of El Salvador have been given: 

* a man holding on to the back of a full bus traveling 80km/hr down a highway
* people riding on top of produce in a big, open truck on the the highway
* whole communities (including chickens, dogs, and laundry lines) built from scrap wood and corrugated metal shelters in the green space between opposing lanes of traffic
* open trucks filled with standing people packed like sardines
* walls lined with shards of glass to deter intruders
* armed militia standing next to lean-to communities
* people rooting through piles of garbage

I found myself asking, why is my country so wealthy, while this country is so poverty-stricken?
Why do the material gifts I have received seem so much more plentiful than what the Salvadorians have received? God's gifts to them just seemed so insufficient to me. 

But who am I to evaluate sufficiency? Who am I to judge the Giver? 

My arrogance was driven home on Wednesday. My husband, who had given my daughter and me each a hand-written note with a verse for every day of our trip, had penned 1 Samuel 12:16 for that day: 

Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the LORD will do before your eyes.

Because we had been challenged to watch for miracles throughout the week, I was sure that this would be the day I would witness some extra-special, supernatural power. So I stood (that's what the verse told me to do;) and watched -- and waited. While I was standing there, a lady (in fact the very lady in yellow in the picture below) pulled me aside.

She asked for prayer for a little girl who had a lot of tooth pain. In her little mouth were several huge cavities. I'd heard the day before of a woman with visible sores on her hands being healed completely in the course of a prayer, and I believed that God could not only remove this little girl's pain, but He could make her teeth whole again, if He chose. So that's what I prayed He would do. 

But He didn't. 

By the end of our prayer time, the little girl was free of pain, but her teeth still had cavities. That saddened me -- made me question God. But really, who am I to question His gifts? The woman had asked for prayer about the little girl's pain -- and God had answered her prayer. Why was that gift good enough for her, but not for me? 

Perhaps when we're blessed with much, we demand much. Perhaps we become less satisfied, and like Adam and Eve, ask for more -- more than what God has already given. I don't think it matters that we're not asking for more for ourselves -- we're asking for more than what God has given, and are discontent when He doesn't give what we think is necessary. 

But if God's word is true (and I believe it is), then I need to accept the truth of these verses:

My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness . . . (2 Corinthians 12:9)

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus . . . (Philippians 4:19)

His grace and His goodness are enough. We may fail to see the fullness of His provisions, but that's our own vision problem, not His lack of benevolence. 

So I'm praying that God will open my eyes so that I can truly see His gifts for what they are. I know in my mind that "enough" is enough -- and I'm ready for it to sink into my heart. 

Do you question God's gifts? Does "enough" sometimes seem like it's not enough? Do you believe God when He says He will provide for all your needs?


  1. Oh, I am so sorry your suitcase disappeared. Not being able to give your special heart/hand made gifts to Jeanci was so disappointing for you and your daughter. From seeing the pictures of your/your daughter's beautiful journal and bag I know all your love, care and concern for Jeanci went into it. I felt an ache also for I know how much I put myself into gifts I make to give to others. God knew your/your daughter's love and heart for making it for Jeanci and that can also be a comfort.

    But you have touched on some thing so very true, the disconnect between our head and heart belief. I am still learning this is new situations and moments of the day. I have not always liked or agreed with the details of God's working out in my life either, I've learned I don't always know what's best but my confidence and trust in Him has grown. I have been given comfort and a different outlook by those type of circumstances.

    As special as your gifts to Jeanci were, the fact that you and your daughter took the time to travel and visit her must have meant so much to her, and will have such a far reaching affect on her, she'll never forget you/your daughter.

    May God continue to bless and keep you/your family as He has done so already. :-)

  2. It's funny sometimes what God will use sometimes to build our trust in Him, isn't it? I kinda count it as a miracle that I didn't melt down about the loss of the bag. I finally reached a point where I didn't want to strive anymore and just said, "I'll let God deal with it." I think that's what He wants all along :)

    Thanks for your blessings and prayerful support, Deb! It means a lot :)


Sincere responses . . .

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...