The Humbling of a Gift

Take a moment to think about the idea of “giving.” You might even set a timer for thirty seconds and ponder any connections that this word brings to mind. Okay. Do you have something in mind? This is a task that I have given myself time and time again. Initially, what came to my mind was a picture of me serving at a soup kitchen, being a listening ear for a friend, or providing financially for another who is currently in need.

But then, I paused. My mind flashed back to when I was sixteen. It was a Sunday afternoon, and I had just arrived home from church. “Mom. Mom.” I yelled through our apartment, but there was no response. My mom had told me earlier that morning she wasn’t feeling well and that she might go to the doctor. My mind began to spin as I realized she wasn’t home. I ran upstairs where my grandparents lived to see if they had any news, but they were nowhere to be found either. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I drove to my dad’s house. He sat with me for hours as we called the doctors’ offices and then hospitals. Finally, we had found my mom. She was in the ER, and they had found a tumor the size of a volleyball. I sat in shock. Only two years earlier, my parents had divorced, and the previous year, my dad had had so many blood clots in his lungs that the doctors told him he should not be living. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. I was so emotionally drained.

That was the beginning of a hard and emotional year, and at that time I was completely unaware of the transformative journey that God had ahead of me. Due to the extensive surgery and recovery process, my mom could not do any work for over three months. I am not sure I would be human if I didn’t ask , “how are we going to make it financially?” But just as I was humbled a few years prior, when a family had anonymously bought us Christmas presents after my parents’ divorce, I was humbled again by my grandparents’ willingness to help us with rent, our church family who brought us meals almost every single evening during that time, and the contentment that my mom and I shared while eating every meal at home and buying only the necessities.

When times are going well, it is easy to find myself in a posture which states, “I don’t need any help. I’ve got this on my own.” But the reality is that we can’t live this life alone. Christ created us to need relationships. Ultimately, God knew this, and as it states in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God gave because He loves, but He also knew that without His Son, we would not ever be able to become righteous on our own. 1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.”

I can’t always explain why God allows hard things to come into our lives, but I know why God put my struggles in my life. He was teaching me to humble myself. To realize that I can’t do it on my own. And through that humility, He has given me a new lens to view the gift of God’s Son, who then gave His life to save mine.

So think about the word “giving” once again. Pause and reflect on the great gift that our God and Savior has given to us.