When I was a child, I wondered why I had to thank God for food I didn’t want to eat. In my immature mind, gratitude was a response to receiving something I wanted—like a hamburger and French fries, not asparagus. So why did I have to be thankful for something I didn’t want?
In the human realm, my thinking was logical. Not everything people give us is for our good. And of course not everything we want is good.
But the situation with God is different. As Christ reminded us, loving parents do not give their children a stone rather than bread, a snake instead of a fish. And God is far more loving than our earthly parents (Matt. 7:9-11).
This doesn’t mean that God’s children can expect a pain-free, stress-free life. James tells us not only that every good gift comes from our heavenly Father (1:17), but also that we are to “count it all joy” when we “fall into various trials.” The testing of our “faith produces patience,” and the work of patience makes us “perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (vv.2-4).
Even when we receive something that doesn’t seem good, we can be grateful because we know there is more to it than we can see. What seems like an imperfect gift may be the means by which God perfects us.
For Further Study
How can terrible things ever be good? Does our loving God "give" us pain? Read Why Would A Good God Allow Suffering? at www.discoveryseries.org/q0106
A trial may be God's good gift in disguise.