No refunds, no exchanges - James 1:17

Have you ever received a gift that you didn't want? Of course you have - we all have. We have all stood in those eternally long lines on December return the gift that didn't fit or didn't work or just wasn't right. Sometimes gift-givers just don't get it right. So we coach up our kids to respond graciously. "Even if you get 5 of the exact same things, say 'thank you'. And know we can take it back tomorrow!".

Have you ever received a gift from God that you didn't want? At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I surely have. And, if you are willing to be honest, I'll bet you have, too. Something - or someone - that wasn't what you wanted. A situation or answer that was not what you had hoped for, asked for, prayed long and hard for.

Since God doesn't have a "returns" policy on His gifts, what are we to do?

Well, first, I think He welcomes us to be honest with Him. (He already knows what we are thinking and feeling anyway!) Express your disappointment, grief, even anger over what He has permitted into your life. We should pour out our hearts to Him, allowing those emotions to empty out. I find it helpful to do this over and over, until I am ready for the next step.

Which is to Trust Him. Trust the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. Who only gives good and perfect gifts. Sometimes they come wrapped in packaging that makes us think they are not what we want or need. But if we will trust the One who is the source of light - the One who never veers from His purpose to draw us closer to Himself, to conform us to the image of His Son, to give us lasting peace and joy and life more abundantly - then we can be assured that He has chosen the right gift. And that He will grant us the grace to receive it well, if only we will ask.

I get that it may very well take some time for our emotions to line up with what our heads are acknowledging. That's OK. Just keep trusting. As John Piper says, "God is always up to a thousand things that we cannot see." And He is always good, always loving. His Word is truer than my circumstances. Always.

If you have a gift from God that you would rather return, I understand. So does He. But turn your gaze away from the gift and onto the Giver. He loves you and He is at work on your behalf. I promise. And. more importantly, so does He.

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