Thursday, April 03, 2008

It's Not a Bag of Snakes!

I love gift bags. Try as I might, I have never been a good wrapper of presents. When I wrap something, I always end up short just a little piece, so I have to cut a strip of wrapping paper and tape it on and it looks well…not so pretty. When some intelligent woman invented gift bags, I was at the front of the line saying, “Hook a girl up!”

God, the ultimate giver of all good gifts, presented to us Iobsts a gift bag a couple of months ago. Hidden beneath the perfectly matched tissue paper lay a season of blessing. Just seems like we are being blessed left and right.

But I am having a problem with it. Yep, I am an optimist when things are going bad, but when things are going good, I look for dark clouds. As I wrote in one of my Easter blog posts, I sense that any minute the other stiletto will fall. Like when Charlie Brown of Charles Schultz’s Peanuts went trick or treating with his friends every Halloween. Afterward the exchange between he and Linus or Lucy went something like this:

“I got a chocolate candy bar!”

“I got a handful of candy corn!”

Then Charlie Brown. “I got a rock.”

My bag does not have a rock. But I always expect one.

John, the wonderful husband, likes to remind me of something when I get into a “doubting the blessings of God” mode.

He says, “Robbie, it’s not a bag of snakes.”

Matthew 7:9-11 says
"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

God doesn’t hand out gift bags with snakes in them. Good to know.

But hard to accept. I mean, a friend of mine just got some very disappointing news. Where’s her gift bag? Two days ago, another friend told me how her son had a sore throat. Today she is in the hospital with him because he has to have surgery on his vocal cords. What? Where is the gift bag?

I am reading Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind right now. It is a great book! Thank you, Genevra! God is using Joyce’s words to teach me how my thoughts are pretty messed up at times. One pattern I have is to try to reason out everything God is doing, instead of listening and obeying and walking in faith. Another pattern I am trying to battle is vain imaginations or pretensions. It is my carnal bent to take blessings and imagine them into curses. The “what ifs” occupy my mind way too much. Not to mention, the superfluous thoughts of comparison. I often spend wasted time trying to figure out why God isn’t blessing so and so like me, or why God is blessing so and so and not me.

It is a process of growing in Christ and renewing my mind daily in order to be transformed. (Romans 12: 1-2) Last night John and I were discussing the good things in our life, and I, of course, topped it off with, “I am overwhelmed with all this. Just seems like it is going to end.”

John looked at me and smiled this sweet grin he has that I love and said, “How about you just enjoy today and what God has for us today?”

He’s right. This morning on my doorstep, I found a beautiful gift bag from God. Hidden underneath the apricot tissue paper, (He’s God-He knows how to shop) lay a beautiful gift. Strength for whatever may come my way and Joy to see the positive in each of life’s blessings.

It wasn’t a bag of snakes!