“In Christ…”: “Taste and see that the LORD is good…” (Psalm 34:8) – Part 5 of 5

ALL Good… Is a Reflection of God’s Goodness

“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).

Take the Time to Reflect… And Reflect Often… On ALL Good Things.

There I was: an eight-hour evening of “pearl diving” (dish washing) had finally ended!  It was 2:00am and we had had another hunormously busy night at The Chart House of Aspen restaurant with 500+ dinners served and, yours-truly, the “the solo diver”. I was racked with exhaustion, and yet still jazzed-up, after having completed another “marathon of diving” on a December holiday evening in the sleepy little mining town of Aspen.

It took me some time to suit up in my winter bicycling gear for the ride home.  It wasn’t until I stepped outside while walking my studded-snow-tired mountain bike that I got a cruel but refreshing slap in the face of 25 degrees below zero reality check.

“YO!”, I said to myself as I straddled my bike in the middle of the desolate Durant Street intersection, and zipped-up tight for my ride home. There was a perfectly beautiful full moon over head, and I was psyched to end my long evening with a refreshing spin and wind-down before bed time.

As I rolled across the snow-packed street that sounded like squeaking tires on dense Styrofoam, I stopped short of clipping into my bike pedals.  I turned my head and lifted my face towards the sky to listen very carefully as the light wind shifted back and forth.  There it was again: one of my favorite sounds of the faint and distant honking of Canadian Geese.  The elusive but clear honking came and went as the light and shifting wind made all the difference in the hearing.  I decided to walk my bike over to an area that wasn’t so brightly lit by a near-by street light.

I stared up intently into the black, star-studded, full moon sky.  Suddenly, there it was!  A thread-like, “V”-shaped strand of geese some thousands of feet above me!  No!  Wait a minute… It came into focus. There THEY were:  As I continued to stare up into the sky, and my eyes grew more and more adjusted to the lack of ambient light, I was witness to a most glorious sight indeed: not one, but hundreds of thread-like, “V”-strands of geese winging, leading, following, and honking across the black, yet sparkling heavens above.  I could now more clearly see how their underbellies were brightly lit by the reflection of the full moon off of the Colorado mountain snow far, far below them.

I was absolutely stunned and awed by the sight of thousands of big ‘ol, white-bellied honkers working their way towards their destination.  What an unbelievable sight and gift that was indeed…

“…coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…”!

It wasn’t until many years later that I had the blessing of the bigger and more inestimable gift:  You see—you who are beloved reflections of God’s light and goodness—over time, and by my conversion, I had come to realize that even though this marvelous event I had witnessed was very special indeed, it was merely a reflection of something much better.  Much brighter.  Much bigger.  Much more awesome…

That untold number of geese bellies reflected the light on the snow; which reflected the light of the full moon; which reflected the light of the sun—on the other side of the planet millions and millions of miles away! And now, in my heart, the sun’s light had become the Son’s light.

Have you come to the place in your life of realizing that even the greatest, most awesome blessing you could ever dare imagine… is only a reflection… and a dim one at that? And that the most seemingly insignificant little blessings… are but a reflection as well?

When the Bible tells us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”, there are (at least) three very important reasons why this truism of the Christian faith can make all the difference in our lives by reversing the curse of ingratitude and idolatry put within all hearts in The Fall (Genesis 3; Romans 1:18-32).

First of all, when we accept the occasion of our gratitude as coming from the proper cause we are drawn ever-closer to our heavenly Father above in deepest thanksgiving and praise of Him: The First Cause! Every heartbeat, every breath, every quake in a blade of grass, every downy feather that falls from a bird, every star nebula, every dimension we won’t discover until we’ve explored the heavens in our millionth year of praising God there… it’s all of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: The Thought, Creator, Sustainer (God), the Word made incarnate (Son), and the “fluttering co-creator” (Spirit) of it all. All. All.

Secondly, we must be very careful not to confuse the occasion of the thanksgiving, with the cause.  Do not stop at even the greatest gift experienced in this worldly realm: go the The Giver.  Do not linger simply at the blessing of family; go to The Creator of Family.  Do not even stop at the thanks for life; go to The Creator, Sustainer, and Offer of Eternal Life.  Do not feign faith in either liturgy or tradition or warm-cozy feelings… but look through the man-made manifestation to The Source and Sense of All Truth, Love, and Worship!

The Warning of Mistaken Reflections

And thirdly, once we make the mistake of confusing the cause with the occasion, well, as it turns out, we will make little gods out of the blessings… and not The Blesser!  Our fallen heart will make God’s good things… the only things.  When anything takes the place of God on the throne of our life, we will revere that thing… as King. And, due to the upside-downness nature of sin in the world and in our hearts, we become inextricably attached to this world and all of its sparkling and momentary allurements; and not “the Father of the heavenly lights above”—from whence EVERY good and perfect gift comes; including and especially His one and only Son.

There is a very certain way to have one’s heart transformed daily by the truth of the verse from James 1:17 that we are feasting on today: “The Testing of Your Faith”.

Please read and meditate on the verses from James that precedes verse 17 today… and in some form, every day. James 1:1-16 holds the secret to how to treat suffering in such a redemptive way that no day goes by that you and I are not in awe of “the Father of lights”—the triune God of all goodness who is reflected in every detail of goodness… and every redeemed act of darkness and badness!

These power-packed verses (vv 1-16) offer the key of applying a certain form of Biblical wisdom made up of, and for, times of suffering in particular! And, when applied deeply, robustly, consistently, and in faith community create a form of perseverance that is translated to mean, “The Fruit of the Spirit”: Another amazingly awesome form of, “Every good and perfect gift is from above…”!

How many of you could be honest enough to reflect on times when you might have treated “the shifting shadows of an earthly blessing” as an end, rather than the means—to see through the blessing as a reflection of “the Father of heavenly lights above”? Please remember, beloved of God, every jot and tittle of gratitude and goodness is merely a reflection of the Triune God’s goodness. Be truly thankful and blessed by the one and only true source of costly grace, gratitude, and good works, “who does not change like shifting shadows”.

In deep gratitude to Him, my Father of the heavenly lights… and the light within my heart, JohnDoz

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