God's Idea of Good

  • March 13, 2018
  • #9357

We want and pray for things we think are good, but God's idea of "good" may be very different from ours.

Joni Eareckson Tada

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with God’s idea of “good.”

After I broke my neck in a diving accident, I was left a discouraged quadriplegic. I retched at the idea of sitting in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. Actually, to be honest, I could hardly conceive of what it would be to live without use of my hands or legs. So my every prayer request back then centered around walking again. To me, it was a good request. I mean, Jesus said so in Matthew Chapter 7 where He says: “If evil people know how to give good gifts, how much more will God give good gifts to those who ask him?” And so to my way of thinking I thought, ‘Walking was a good thing; it would be a good gift. What could be better than walking? If God wants what’s good in my life, then surely, He will answer my prayers to walk, or if not that, then please, at least getting back use of my hands. Having hands that work would be a good gift.’

And so I did everything possible to see that I would walk again. I argued with physical therapists, assuring them I would someday be back on my feet. I attended healing services, making sure to line up front and center with the rest of the wheelchair users to receive my miracle. I even bargained with God, promising I’d do anything just to be able to stand, to run and ride a horse again; to hold hands, or hold a bottle of Coke. I even straightened up my spiritual act, and began reading His Word more regularly and praying more often. I assumed that God would certainly not turn down the prayers of his more ardent, more obedient followers, right? It’s why you can imagine my disappointment when, several years later, I was still paralyzed. My fingers still did not move and I thought: ‘God, you even say in Psalm 84 that you withhold no good thing from those whose walk is blameless. I'm not doing anything bad; in fact, my spiritual walk with you is pretty good so isn’t it time you gave me back use of my legs? I did not understand. God promised to not withhold any good thing. I’m sorry, but to me, walking was a good thing.

Then one day a friend said to me, “Joni, I want you to know I think you’re pretty courageous. I see your smile, and even though you’re paralyzed, it tells me that, with God's grace, I can smile through my problems, so thank you.” I sat there with her comment resonating in my heart because something told me that this was God's good gift. That maybe, God wasn’t so much interested in healing my legs to stand, but in healing my heart to run to Him at all times, in all circumstances. God was interested in a deeper healing and soon, my prayers began to change. I began to pray for a contented heart, a peaceful mind; eyes that didn’t lust, ears that refused to listen to trash, a mouth that didn’t complain, and a spirit that obeyed His commands.

So how do we read Matthew Chapter 7? What are God’s good gifts? Well, we may ask for financial stability, but God might give something better: a deeper, stronger faith to trust Him. We may desire to marry, but God may keep us single and dependent him. We may ask for a clean medical report, but God might give us a sweeter reliance on his grace – that’s good. And all of it produces courage, faith, perseverance, endurance, peace that is profound and joy that is unshakable. These are God's good gifts. So think of your last major trial, and ask yourself ‘What good came out of that trial? What “good gift” did the Lord bless you with during those difficult days?’ You think about that and I think you too will find your heart resonating with God’s definition of “good." 

© Joni and Friends



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