“Our Father Wants to Give Us the Best”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best, and man will not take it.”
So writes the wise old Scottish preacher and author George MacDonald.
It’s true, isn’t it?
Our Father tells us that happiness lies in learning to be content with what we have, whether we have a little or a lot. He tells us to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33), and “all these things”—things like what we need to eat, drink and wear—will be ours as well. Do we believe him?
Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase in The Message gets to the heart of this. It’s more than possible for us to be “so preoccupied with getting” that we’re unable to “respond to God’s giving.”
Ironically, as we max out our stress levels to grasp for “bigger, better, and more,” we often settle for far too little—little, less, and counterfeit. Assuming that having “stuff,” and a lot of it, will make us happy, we fill our hands with trinkets and become unable to open our hands to receive the real wealth our Father wants to give us.
We make the same mistake with closed hearts. Our God would fill them, were they open to filling, with the genuine joy he wants to give. It’s a gift beyond price. But too often we choke our own hearts, occluding them with rock-hard resentment. Christ offers to nurture our souls with food that fulfills; we choose to chew a cud of bitterness that poisons our hearts and sickens our relationships.
Our Father tells us to love our spouses with Christlike love, selflessly putting their good above our own so that they live knowing that we cherish them and their trust. United in love and deliciously liberated from fear by vows freely taken and sincere, real love flowers and two become one in soul-filling joy, and the children that come never have to live a single day wondering if they are loved. Ah, God would always give us the best, and this gift is priceless.
But our world, in the name of “free love,” rushes to embrace slavery like an illicit lover. It settles for lust and self-serving lies, a parody of love that takes rather than gives, uses rather than cherishes, and runs from one loveless bed to another. Usually, it’s the women who are cast aside, the children forgotten as the poor excuses for men move on to “father” more fatherless children. Oh, for all of his children, our Father wants so much better!
God made us. He knows us, and he knows what makes for our genuine happiness and contentment. God knows that if we live our lives, hands and hearts closed, always grasping and struggling to “get ahead” by this world’s standards, we’ll never know peace. God knows that shallow lives are storm-tossed lives with no safe harbor, and so he challenges us to trust him instead by choosing to live joyful, gentle, prayerful lives and thus find a “peace that transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
Our Father knows that to center on him as our Pole Star is to chart the right course in life. He knows that lives lived in his love, mercy, and grace are lives able to go down deep where real contentment is found, rich and full and forever.
Do we really want the very best for our lives? We have a Father who really wants to give it.
You’re invited to visit my website, www.CurtisShelburne.com, and I hope you’ll take a look there at my new “Focus on Faith” Podcast. At the website, just click on “Podcast.” Blessings!
Copyright 2021 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.