Daily Devotional

James 1:17

"Every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."

Everything good comes from God. That’s a pretty amazing thought. That means that there is nothing that is not truly good that is not also from God. Obviously, the difficult question is, “What’s really good?” The easy answer is that whatever God says is good is good. The more nuanced answer is that we don’t really always know what’s good at the time.

There’s an old story about a man who had a horse that ran away. “How unfortunate” everyone said. “We’ll see” the man replied. Then the horse came back and had a wild horse following behind it. “What a blessing!” everyone said. “We’ll see” the man replied. The man’s son went to train the horse but fell off of it and broke his leg. “How unfortunate” everyone said. “We’ll see” the man replied. A war broke out in the country and every young, able-bodied man had to go off to fight. Since the man’s son had broken his leg, he was able to stay home.
The point of the story is that our perception of the moment isn’t always accurate down the road. What we might view as a blessing could turn out to be negative, and what we think is a negative could turn out to be for our best. What I’m trying to say is that our circumstances are hard to judge as good or bad. However, we do KNOW that God is always good.

“Always” is another hard concept for us to understand. James says there is “no variation” with God. God is good not just some of the time, but always. That isn’t to say we’ll always face good times, but rather no matter what we face, God is still good.
What things in our life today do we deem good but might actually turn out bad? What bad things have we experienced or dealt with that may have actually been for our benefit or for the benefit of others or even for the benefit of God’s kingdom?

I can’t imagine Covid was a very pleasant season for anyone, however, now with the benefit of hindsight I do see some good that God brought out of something that only seemed bad. We were all forced to adjust; to drop some things, to change some things, to pick some things up. I can say for myself, I was busier than ever before, but I was busy about the right things. Many things slowed down and as there was less time for “things” there became more time for people. In more instances than I can count, I heard stories of families spending more time together, stories of negative patterns being forced to end, stories of some positive habits getting started up. I’ll never forget the words of one individual who said, “I always thought I was too busy to spend time with God. Now I see that busyness wasn’t the problem.”
I truly believe it is good that we are moving past this season and hope that it will soon be a distant memory. At the same time, I can’t help but wonder if in our desire to get back to “normal” if we will rush right back to some things that we thought were good, but really weren’t for our best.

When it comes down to it, it’s not so much about what we deem “good” in the moment, but what does God say is good? It might not always make sense at the time, and that’s okay. We can always trust God and trust that whatever He calls good is truly good.
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