The Greatest Gift Is God Himself

“Don’t take this wrong, but we prayed before our children were born, and all of them were born healthy.”

I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to take that. We had just told a new acquaintance that our infant son, Paul, had died several years earlier, after we had already grieved three difficult miscarriages. I felt judged. According to this person speaking to me, Paul’s death and my miscarriages were easily preventable. It was simple. We hadn’t prayed enough. We had neglected to do our part. In short, we were to blame.

This attitude wasn’t new to me. I had felt this mixture of judgment and pressure from the day I learned of Paul’s heart problem four months into the pregnancy. Concerned friends had rallied around, assuring me of healing for my unborn son. “Pray, believing you will receive,” they urged from James 5, “and he will be healed.”

So I prayed. I fasted. I recited set prayers. I read books on healing. I asked friends to pray. I begged God. I did everything I knew to do.

I assumed my prayers would be effective. I knew God was able to do even more than I had asked. And I had been faithful. I taught Bible study. I tithed. Surely God would do what I wanted.

But months later, sitting beside Paul’s empty crib, I had more questions than answers. What had I done wrong? Why didn’t my faithful life result in blessing? Was I to blame? Or was God?

My Slanted Arrangement

Nothing made sense. And in the ensuing months, I poured myself into theology. I wanted to understand this God who I claimed to worship but couldn’t figure out. While God graciously comforted me with his presence, I still had unanswered questions.

As I examined my expectations, I realized that I had unconsciously assumed that life was linear. I was living as though God’s blessings were dependent on my faithfulness and trouble was a result of my failings. So if I fulfilled my end of the relationship, God would certainly fulfill his. If not, what was the point of obeying God?

Written by Vaneetha Rendall
Read more atDesiring God

One thought on “The Greatest Gift Is God Himself

  1. Hello Vaneetha: You touch on an ancient misconception about God. In idol worshipping countries people gave gifts to their gods so the gods would do as the gift-givers wanted. They wanted to dictate to god; they wanted god to validate their desires. The faith that Abraham taught was that we are expected to listen to God and allow God’s will over our own. This was an extreme about-face from what other religions of the day taught. God is not our servant; we are God’s servants. Your “friends” were unfair in suggesting that you didn’t pray enough to save your child. God has His own reasons for our lives challenges and we are in error if we judge one another for events we face. We indeed are expected to pray to God — to talk over our day, ask questions and to ask for understanding (and listen for God’s response) and share joys and lamentations with our Creator. But throughout life we are supposed to be learning how to let go and let God lead us and not demand or dictate our desires to God. My condolences on the loss of your child. Just as an aside, there are certain herbs and foods that can cause miscarriage. Among them are rosemary, cumin, celery (imagine that!) and the vegetable eggplant. You can up your chances of having a healthy baby by eating folic acid foods (beans, peas, lentils, etc.) and USDA organic foods and, of course, by avoiding alcohol and avoiding smoking. God be with you. Best wishes for your spiritual journey. ND of nomagicwandchristianity blog.

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