“For you bestow gifts suited to every season.”
When I heard this line spoken at a Confirmation Mass the other night, I was jerked back to the present moment. My mind had drifted – I was tired, hurting from an injury earlier in the week, and brooding over a frustrating encounter with someone from earlier in the day. But when I heard the bishop speak this line of prayer, something within me clicked.
I don’t know about you, but I can get so caught up in self-pity sometimes. Lately, it’s so hard for me to see past my problems, which honestly are nothing compared to the struggles that so many in this world face. Nevertheless, I find myself avoiding prayer, scared that God won’t give me what I want. Whether it has to do with my relationships, my job, or my dreams – there’s a despairing part of me that figures there’s no use in asking because God won’t give it.
And maybe, in a sense, that’s right.
YES, God will fulfill my desires. YES, God wants good things for me. YES, God sees and knows what I want and He intends to satisfy me.
Psalm 145:15-16 speaks to this promise:
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand, you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
There is so much truth and comfort in this promise, but so often, we miss an important part of it – in due season. I can get caught up in this world’s promise of instant gratification and forget that seeing God’s promise ultimately come to light sometimes requires a waiting period. The Israelites were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years, Noah braved it out on the ark for 40 days, and Jesus was in the grave for 3 days – why, oh why, do I think that my desires should be instantly granted? Maybe God’s not giving me what I want, how I want, when I want it and maybe that in itself is a gift. It doesn’t mean it’s never coming and it doesn’t mean that there aren’t gifts being given right now.
He bestows gifts suited to every season. This has two parts for me.
1) Receive the gift.
I’ll be honest – at any given point in my life, I have no idea what season I’m in. But naming the season we’re in isn’t the most important part of life. What’s important is that we’re living. I can get so caught up in trying to figure out where I am, what I’m supposed to be doing, and how I’m supposed to get there that I miss out on every opportunity to tangibly discover these things by lived experiences. Don’t get me wrong, these questions of identity and purpose are important, but unfortunately they often intimidate us with fear and uncertainty.
Instead of focusing on these questions and letting fear cripple us, let’s just receive the gifts that the Lord’s giving in whatever season it is that we’re in. Let’s just be in the season where we are. Let’s find the gifts that the Lord has for us here. Not looking down the road to where summer and all its gifts are, but seeing the spring that we’re in and realizing that every gift we need is right here, being given by the hand of the Father. When I stop looking at what I’m lacking, and start looking at what I’ve been given, I realize that it’s exactly what I need.
2) Be the gift.
I don’t really want to be selfish and I don’t think anyone does. We all have a desire to make gift of ourselves to the world in some way. In a world that tells us to look out for number one, this desire is often snuffed out, but the pursuit of selflessness does exist.
We all have the choice to either wallow in self-pity like some kid who didn’t get what she wanted for her birthday or we can forget about ourselves for a moment and realize that maybe today isn’t about what I need in my season. Maybe today is about being the suited gift bestowed to someone else in their season.
It can be hard to see what God is doing at the present moment, but when I look back and see the faithfulness of the Lord in every step I’ve taken up to this point, why do I fear that the next step will be the exception for Him? Why do I think that this time He’s slipped up and the gifts He’s giving are the wrong ones? So I propose (as much to myself as to anyone reading), that instead of grumbling that this season of my life doesn’t call for this or that desire to be fulfilled, to be thankful for season I’m in and that His grace gives every gift I need.
He’s not leaving me orphaned. He’s not leaving me abandoned. He’s not leaving me to endure the chill of winter alone. He has bestowed the gifts suited for this season – and the best gift in any season of my life is the gift of His very presence.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. – Matthew 28:20