You Don't Get Me Good Stuff

I choke back a defensive reply, blinking away tears as my middle schooler flings angry words at me.

“You guys don’t get me good stuff!”

He has turned a conversation about new tennis shoes into a sweeping accusation about our parenting. 

 Stung, I look around at the books, toys, instruments, and sports equipment that he owns. My thoughts turn to his overflowing dresser drawers and our well-stocked cupboards.

 All this, and his own room in a well-built house located in a pleasant neighborhood. How can he not see how well he is provided for?

Even as I form that thought, I am struck by another. 

 I expect my adolescent son to see the abundance in his life and recognize our loving care in providing for him.  But, as an adult who has followed Jesus for decades, do I really understand my Savior’s daily goodness to me?

Chagrined, I think about the times I mutter under my breath about the age of our cars, and the lack of storage space in my house. 

Or how often I complain about household tasks or going to my part time job.

Or the way I fixate on what frustrates me about my husband, my kids, or my friends instead of the joy they bring into my life. 

Clearly, my posture isn’t very different from the arms-folded defiance of my teen, as my words and actions tell God, “You don’t get me good stuff.”

Too often I follow the example of the stiff-necked Hebrews that Moses led out of Egypt.

No sooner were they free from Pharaoh than they began complaining about the food. They worried about water and questioned Moses’ leadership.

Like them, grumbling comes naturally to me. I maintain laser focus on the ways it seems that God is holding out on me, while my expressions of thankfulness are vague and half-hearted.

But there is good news for me, and for you if you are a grumbler too. Because we are Jesus followers, we are not doomed to stay in the rut of discontentment. We have God’s Spirit at work in us, giving us the power to follow a different path. 

For me, this new way means telling God that I see the “good stuff” he provides. To help me turn these good intentions into action, I use David’s words of gratitude and trust in Psalm 16 as a pattern to follow.

 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup.

 I praise God for his mercy, his holiness, and his faithfulness. Then I affirm that he is my source of security and contentment. No circumstance or material thing can match the fullness of joy I already have in Christ. He is enough!

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.

Before he was king of Israel, David was a shepherd boy and a fugitive from the demented King Saul. If he found pleasure in the life he was given, so can I! 

I thank God for the town I live in, my home, my family situation, my work, and my season of life. It may not all look like I want it to now, but I trust that what he has given me is good.

Surely I have a delightful inheritance.

God has given me the privileges of a family member. He not only gives me good things now, he has secured everlasting life for me that will be beyond my best imaginings. I praise him for freeing me from sin and from the power of death, so that I will get to enjoy the fullness of his presence in a place free from sin, sorrow, and sickness.

 

I can’t say I never struggle anymore with my own “tennis shoe moments” – those times when disappointment over something I think God has denied me can grip my heart. Learning to love the boundary lines of my God-given lot in life is not something I will master in a week or even a month.

 But I’m heading in the right direction each time I look at where I am and what I have, and declare it “good.”

 

Susan Daugherty1 Comment