Gifts that we give at Christmas are fraught with pitfalls. What to buy, how much to spend, should I even get this person a gift?
And then there is the problem of receiving gifts graciously. Did my face show I was disappointed? Can I exchange these gifts?
Perhaps, now that Christmas is over we should reflect on the fact that Jesus himself was a gift and that He has other gifts he wants to give us. These gifts are just what we need and are lasting – even into eternity. However, there is one catch, God has a ‘no return’ policy.
The first gift God wants to give us is faith and trust is part and parcel.
Trusting God with our lives is scary. After all, His ideas might veer in a different direction from our plans.
WAIT A MINUTE, THAT MEANS LOSS OF CONTROL!
No, that isn’t going to work. You have to make an exception. Please process my return.
You ask the reason for my return? Well, God, that’s a little presumptuous, but the truth is I already have someone to trust.
Yes, trust in self, that is what the world tells us to practice. Of course, there is also trust in money, success, education, symbols, superstitions, addictions – I could go on, but you get my drift.
Funny, how we can put our trust in things that don’t last, but trusting God is so difficult.
Want to know a secret? This problem has existed from the beginning of time. Okay, it might not be a secret, but read on for a summary of our human condition and trust.
FIRST THERE WAS EVE (Genesis 3: 1-3)
Yes, God had given her gifts abundantly. Yet, when Satan came around she forgot all about those gifts and ate the fruit. We see this as rebellion and disobedience, but her actions also displayed a lack of trust. Ultimately, she was saying she didn’t trust God to know what was best for her. Instead, she put her trust in a serpent and in self. After all, she could be wise like God. Sure, why not?
ICHABOD’S MOTHER STRUGGLED WITH TRUST TOO! (1 Samuel 4: 12-22)
What gifts did this woman want? She wanted Israel to be glorified and in her mind that could only be done when the Ark of the Covenant was returned. You see, her trust was in a symbol rather than God.
AND THOSE ISRAELITES (Exodus 32: 19-24 and 2 Chronicles 34: 1-11)
The Israelites had just received a lot of gifts from God, He had rescued them from slavery, parted the Red Sea to facilitate their escape, and put them on the path to the Promised Land; a land of milk and honey with plentiful food and spiritual nourishment.
So, of course, the Israelites were thankful and full of hope.
WELL, NOT SO MUCH!
You see, the people were impatient and expected God to work on their time line. So, when Moses, their leader, left to talk to God about His chosen people’s future, they expected a quick return. After all, they had things to do and people to see. They didn’t have time to wait around while Moses had an extended conversation with their Creator and God.
So, when Moses didn’t return when the people thought he should they decided they needed something quicker and more reliable to trust than God. So, of course, they did the most logical thing and built a golden calf. That was so much better.
Trust in idols continued to be a problem throughout Israel’s history, and many years later we read in 2 Chronicles how the Israelites were once again including idol worship in their religious traditions.
We can be critical, but if we are honest we have idols of our own and they are no more trustworthy than a golden calf.
EVEN MARY MAGADALENE SUFFERED THIS MALADY (Luke 8:2, John 20: 11-16)
Jesus’ gifts to Mary Magdalene included relieving her of demon possession and the knowledge that He would rise from the dead on the third day. Yet, Mary was still surprised that the tomb was empty. She didn’t truly trust Jesus’ promise of the resurrection.
WHAT ABOUT US?
Are we always appreciative of the gifts God gives us?
I don’t know about you but I have suffered with:
- Eve’s wanting more disorder
- Ichabod’s mother’s syndrome of despair
- Israelites’ affliction of forgetfulness
- Mary’s malady of doubt
SO, WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO?
Well, we read about Josiah in the above mentioned verses of 2 Chronicles. We can take a play out of this young king’s playbook. He recognized that trust in anything but God (idol worship) was destroying the Israelites and knew obedience to God’s Word was the only way out of this crisis. Therefore, he got rid of the idols and restored the Temple to honor and worship God.
Here are some ways that help me in times of distrust:
- Recognize our idols. Is it work, family, prestige, money, hobbies, addictions? Make a decision to put God first over any idol. Do what you need to do to get rid of that idol, e.g., seek professional help, give up the hobby for a period of time, give more to God’s kingdom, or take a prayer retreat all by yourself.
- Reflect on how you spend your money. Keep a log for a month to help you discover the truth. Where is your treasure?
- Fervently pray for the gift of faith!
- Embark on a Bible study of God’s miracles to help you understand His power, authority, and complete sovereignty. Your Bible’s index or a concordance can get you started.
- Meditate on Isaiah 26: 3-4: You, LORD, give true peace to those who depend on you, because they trust you. So, trust the LORD always, because He is our Rock forever. (NCV) A suggestion on how to meditate is idea #7 in 21 Ways to Jumpstart Your Prayer Life. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, go to the top of this page and click on Books, then click on the prayer book. This free eBook will be delivered to your email.
LASTLY, BUY YOURSELF A GIFT!
If you want the gifts of trusting God, genuine contentment, authentic courage, and more, check out “FAKE NEWS ABOUT WOMEN.” View our gender the way God does and learn the gospel truth about the gifts God desires for His final creation!
Also, read my other December post: DO I CARE? It is my Christmas post and focuses on the two daughters-in-law of Naomi. At the end of the article I ask the question to you and myself: “Am I Orpah or Ruth?” Trust was one factor that entered into their decision to stay or go with Naomi. I would love to read your answers in the comment section of that post. You can find my answer there too.
Of course, as always, comments about this post are always welcome in the comment section below. If you want to share anything about your gifts, meaning of Christmas, or anything else on your mind, please do!
HOPE YOU HAD A MERRY CHRISTMAS.
HAVE A SAFE AND BLESSED NEW YEAR.
BE BACK IN 2023!