“If you, then, who 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?” Matthew 7:11 (NIV)
At Christmas, parents everywhere shop tirelessly to buy their children gifts that will bring joy. This year, we had a hard time choosing!
“Oops, we bought too many toys, let’s just save some for his birthday!”
“Next year we should really set a budget.”
“His new robe doesn’t count, since it’s not a toy. Right?” (The robe may have been his favorite present – I think it counts.)
My eagerness to give to my children uncovers for me a new dimension in our Heavenly Father’s goodness – his eagerness to give good gifts. To give the best gifts. To give gifts that will bring joy and be used over and over. His peace, joy, and love! The Holy Spirit! The gifts of the Spirit!
Imagine my surprise when confession turned out to be one of the gifts that God is eager to give.
It started the day I found that God had become inescapable.
Not ever present or with me in all things, but impossible to flee from. Psalm 139 held a new terror – the God who wouldn’t leave me alone! “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where I can run from your presence?” Nowhere could hide me, not the heavens, the depths, the light, the darkness. Never before had I considered this Psalm with a sense of dread. What was the meaning of all this?
Well, unbeknownst to me, Sin had quietly moved in. He wasn’t just making an appearance or hanging on for dear life, he was comfortably seated in the middle of every day. He sat so still that I had gotten used to his dark, shifty-eyed form. He kept changing his story.
“Oh, I’m just here for the night.”
“You looked like you needed some help!”
“I’ll be on my way shortly.”
But there he was, right in the middle of every day. And, as the days felt long and my body and soul felt weary, there he may have stayed if not for the God who wouldn’t leave me alone.
The instinct to flee from God was my first clue that I had forgotten about my now-permanent guest. As I sat wondering what to do, I heard a less demanding, kinder sort of voice.
As that didn’t sound particularly pleasant, I continued to think of what could possibly have gotten in the way of enjoying God’s presence. When nothing else presented itself, I began to consider the possibility that I had, in fact, something to confess.
Sin went on sitting there oh so quietly (with his shifty eyes), but now I was growing suspicious.
“Wait, you were supposed to have moved out ages ago!”
And at that moment, confession seemed less of a burden and more of a gift. And I realized how Sin was really not so great a help as he had made himself out to be. And suddenly my perspective was righted in a way it hadn’t been for a long time.
I confessed. And when I looked up, Sin was gone! (Bolted out the back door, probably. He never was one for confrontation.)
The next day, I cautiously approached Psalm 139 again. How dreadful would God’s presence appear today? To my delight, I found the old comfort and peace in David’s familiar song. “If I go to the heavens, you are there. If I make my bed in the depths, you are there… The night will shine like the day, for the darkness is as light to you.”
It is wonderful to offer God his rightful place again, to see him seated in the center. My home may be humble, but God loves the hospitality of a willing soul. Sin still comes knocking from time to time. He even snuck in one night, thinking he wouldn’t be noticed. But now he finds his former place filled, and he dare not approach the Occupant.
And that is how I found an unlikely gift that God was most eager to give me – confession. Unwrapping that gift was like receiving the starter set of an amazing toy – it provided the foundation for many gifts to come.
“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5 (NIV)
© 2018 Jacqueline Tisthammer. All Rights Reserved.