Every Good Thing

That's right, every good thing...

I used to wonder about this. Still do. Though now it's more akin to childlike awe as opposed to undisciplined unknowing. When my parents divorced, there would come brief flashes of memory from my childhood that would brighten my mood and in turn expand my outlook for the future. Looking back with what I know now, I can see that it was God reminding me of instances where we had interacted without my conscious awareness.

Most of my childhood was spent simply living. I know this sounds obvious. What I mean is, I hadn't yet developed a sense of circumspection or outside observation—nor did I have any reason to when you think about it. But as I got older and was forced to reconcile my aspirations with the self-evident way of the world, and especially with the circumstances surrounding the nigh complete dissolution of my family (all that I'd known), I slowly began to see, and in turn, seek out any vestige of interaction with God that could not only substantiate my existence but explain the general concept of misery as it applied specifically to me. Does this make sense? I hope so because I'm about to introduce another topic that might further confuse things. Please. Read on.

In psychology, there is a concept called a "gestalt". Simply defined, it refers to a thought process or thought pattern that is not only greater than the sum of its parts—the individual thoughts therein—but also different than what any individual thought taken from the whole might point to when looked at by itself. Not necessarily a simple topic to define, but then again, neither are the mind nor the memory. Try to wrap your mind around this. God will help you.

Here's an example from the top of my head: say you had an encounter with someone as a child. Your hairdresser. The person who scooped your ice cream one afternoon. Maybe it was someone you met while walking through the park with a parent. Or maybe the memory doesn't involve a person, but stands out for the brightness of the atmosphere in which you found yourself at the time. Now put yourself there in an observer's position with what you know of the world now. Does anything seem out of the ordinary? It was one of the seven days of the week. Before or after lunch. You were hungry (or not). Any of several ordinary events you've encountered hundreds, thousands of times, since. Yet the memory stands out—like a ray of sunlight through fog—with beauty and wonder and something altogether unnatural. I would wager to say it's the very presence of God. This gestalt brought to you by your Creator. And this is why I see these memories with childlike awe today. They got me through the hardest downtime of my life.

James (1:17) says that "every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of lights." That's what these are: gifts. Gateways through which God entered and touched us and left a paper trail to follow back to Him.

The little letter from Paul to Philemon makes an amazing declaration: verse six says "That the communication of your faith might become effectual (powerful) by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus." What Paul was saying here is that as we seek out and find the instances of interaction that God had with us, our faith will grow up and we in turn will grow into who God already sees us as.


Following Too Closely

Especially unto Them Who are of the Household of Faith