What if God gave you everything you ever wanted, and then said, “Give it back”? Sounds cruel, right? Like some kind of twisted game small children play? Back in a less politically correct age, you would have been subjected to a perjorative term like “Indian-giver.” Even as a mature believer - one who counts her servitude as a blessing - I occasionally look at the circumstances of life - simple (a fight with a family member) or complex (the death of a young person) and come to the place of questioning? What sort of God gives and then requires the return of the gift?
Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t in the hands of the receiver. Abraham spent 100 years trusting God for everything. His only hope was God - if God did not deliver an heir, the promise would be without hope! And perhaps God began to wonder, years after Isaac had been given, years after watching the light in Abraham’s eyes each time he viewed his son, years after the promise was re-born in Abraham’s heart in a million different ways - perhaps then God began to wonder . . . does Abraham still trust me, or has he given his heart, his faith, away? Has he transferred his belief to the gift, rather than the giver? So God tested Abraham. Abraham passed.
Other Biblical figures did not pass every test. Moses impatiently struck the rock. Solomon worshiped his wisdom to distraction. Peter got so caught up in rules about what to eat that God had to give him a vision to get him back on track. What does it all mean? Why does God put this . . . stuff . . . in our way, knowing the whole time that it will “trip us up”. Why does he place our very weaknesses right before us as a challenge? Why bother to give us anything? Surely He who is all knowing already knows if we will pass the test or not. So, if He knows, what's the point?
Complicated question. Simple answer. Because He wants to check us. Because allowing us to have truly free will requires that He let go of the reins of control. He lets us mess up. He frees us to fail, if that's what we want. Why? To make sure that our priorities are exactly where they should be. The day that we begin to worship the gift more than the giver is the day that the spirit of Lot has overtaken us all. Distracted by the blessings, we will be unable to worship in spirit, and in truth. We will be imprisoned by the very thing meant to bless us.
I love what God has given me - my friends, my family, my home, the second chance at a life I thought I had forfeited. But if He should require it of me today, I hope that I could stand and give Him praise knowing that He who gave will not require more than I can bear. That He loves me, His child, and the gift more than I can imagine. While I may never fully understand why God chooses to give and take as He does, I know this: I love the Giver more than anything else. Anything. It is enough.