Friday, August 3, 2012

God Gifts

Life is not laid out in a neat little formula, though I often want it to be.  An athlete's defeat by a hairs breadth and subsequent sobbing in deflated disappointment  proves it is not.  We are not machines with input output buttons but I wish it was that easy.  

Input . . . . hard work, drive, and excruciating discipline. 
Output. . . a gold medal at the Olympics. 

We are told the sky is the limit.  We can pursue any dream and accomplish any feat, if we are willing to work for it.  But that is not entirely true.

Sometimes I believe the lie that if only I work hard enough I will see results.  But when an editor tells me to hit the delete button on months of labor I come away dripping tears, just like those athletes.  But though my pride is crushed, the editor is right, I do need to be wise in my labors so they are not wasted in futility.   The efforts are then directed towards the goal and not into the wind.

Yet some excel toward their goal and still miss it.  Often a destiny is wrapped up in the opinion of a judge, an agent, or a publishing company.   I wrongly assume I deserve the prize because I have put in the hard work but "in vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat, for He grants sleep to those He loves."  (Psalm 127:2)

It is God who grants the gift and brings rest to our striving for "every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights"  (James 1:17)   Even after all the training some athletes have a bad start, some have an off day, and some even perform perfectly but still do not gain the prize.   It all comes down to God's purpose for their lives . . . a gift. 

Today I work hard toward the calling God has placed on my life, but my trust does not lie in my own efforts.  Rather it rests in His sovereign control, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127:1)  Any good we accomplish is from Him.   God alone extends our sphere of influence in order that He may be lifted high.  (Isa. 26:12, 15)

I've gained some new heroes this Olympic season, some women like Missy Franklin and Gabby Douglas.  They have something in common.  Their gold is not expected, not assumed, and not the complete sum of who they are.  They deem it as a gift. . . and gratefulness streams from their faces.  

Pursuing excellence?  Yes.  Trusting excellence?  No.  And I often fall short of even the excellence.  Yet God's purposes prevail.  Thank you God for your perfect gifts.  May I never assume I bring them onto myself.  All Your gifts are grace poured out.

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