What is good? The question plagues me today as I watch my daughter painstakingly pick crumbs from the floor. Despite my setting an array of delicacies before her, bits of fried egg and small squares of buttered toast, she swipes it all away. No, it’s the floor she wants. And as she crawls along, she searches out bits and pieces. For she seems to favor the scraps and crumbs she discovers underneath the table. Or behind the chair leg. And silently I pray… Oh, dear God, may it really be teeny tiny bits of food she gums and not something else.
And so, I muse over her eating habits. How she seems to prefer trash from the floor to the good things I place before her. And it becomes clear. What I think is good and what she thinks is good are two different things. Mind-boggling to say the least.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 107:1
I’ve given a lot of thought to this. What is good? And after contemplating my baby girl’s eating habits, the answer I come up with is full. To be full is good. Because at life’s basest, isn’t that what we hunger for? Fullness. We want and need to be filled with something. And so it’s that something we seek. It becomes our focus. Our aim. When I have ____, I will be full. I will be happy. Life will be good. And if we don’t have the thing we crave, we deem life is not so good.
At least this is the way I’ve operated most of my life. I want what I do not have and thus, I miss all that I do have. The goodness and fullness of life, and God, passes me by…
A year or so back, I felt something was lacking. So I audaciously prayed. Boldly, I made my petition, “Now, withhold no good thing from me.” And I fully expected to get the good I wanted. Though my words were vague, the request was specific. It was something I yearned for. And I was 100% positive God would answer me favorably. That He would reward me with what I sought. Because I was being good (in my mind). So very good. And isn’t good for good a promise of His… He doesn’t withhold good from those who walk uprightly? Psalm 84:11.
Alas, what I thought would happen didn’t come to pass. And so, I confess, I became bitter. Cynical, even. Filled with doubt as my hope and expectation waned. Simply because I did not get my way. Hollowness presented. I was empty and hungered all the more. Hangry best described me. Because I was most assuredly not full and I was not happy about it. In essence, I remained hungry for the thing I deemed to be good.
And so I’m brought back to my daughter. Annabelle. She gets hangry quite often. A delightful (not) mixture of hunger and anger. I contemplate how she and I see good so differently. But me being mom, I know what she needs. Not crumbs from the floor, she needs sustenance from my hand.
And so I get it. My a-ha moment of the day. I’m just like my daughter. And my heavenly Father being Dad knows exactly what I need. Not crumbs from the floor. No, I need the food from His hand. The goodness He sets before me.
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good… Genesis 1:3
God created light and He deemed it to be good. So He gives me light. He created the land and sea and deemed them to be good. So He gives me earth. He created vegetation and it is good. So He gives me the fruit of the tree. He created the sun and the moon and stars and every creeping, crawling, flying, swimming thing. He deemed it all to be good. So this is what He gives me. And He created man. In His image He made them male and female. And these He deemed to be not only good, but very good. So He gives me fellow man. All this is good. And this is all I need…
Fellowship with God
Relationship with man
And light… the Light
God gives good things like His light. And as I bask in the glory of His illumination, I see truth. That God gives and gives. It’s exactly as His word proclaims: For God so loved, He gave. And just because it appears He’s holding out on me by withholding something I desire, it does not mean He isn’t good. Or that He’s being mean. Or that He’s punishing me. Because how could I ever forget what He ultimately gave… His Son. Or what His Son did. He gave His life. Proof of love.
Oh, but I do forget! Again and again. Forgetting what took place over 2000 years ago, I look to future greener grass beyond the fence line. Just as my daughter does when she peers out over the edge of her high chair. No different than her, I continue to seek out what I don’t have. But what if? Suppose the one thing I think is good may just be a crumb. Nothing more than scraps from the floor.
And so, in light of that, I’m able to take my eyes off what I don’t have so that I can gaze upon what I do have. All the things God has stretched out His hand to give me…
I notice the dappling sunlight upon my dewy grass. And there are sunflowers to rest my eyes upon. And a chicken coop at the edge of our trees.
There are seeds to harvest,
and vibrancy of color…
A comfortable bed to lay my weary head at night,
and hot coffee to stir my senses in the morn.
The coolness of fall hovers on the edge of the horizon as leaves cover the ground,
and there are stars. A million, nighttime stars.
I have children… nine and one.
Annabelle’s Pa-Paw drops by regularly along with other family members.
And last, but for sure not least, I have the love of a good man…
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8
Yep, this morning, I mused over eating habits. Annabelle’s and mine. And as I take all this inside me, I wonder how I could ever prefer scraps from the floor when God places His goodness before me. And so I ingest clarity. For a table has been set in my honor. And as it slowly comes into focus, I know this is but a small handful of God’s gifts. Comprehension dawns in my soul and hunger abates. Because I realize… I am full. But not of scraps. No, God didn’t allow me, His daughter, to fill up with bits and pieces from the floor. Instead, He gave me the very best. His best. In His omnipotence, my Father filled me up better than I ever could have.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever. Psalm 23:5-6
No, my life may not be filled with everything I’d like to have. But it’s full of other stuff. The good stuff. My cup runneth over indeed, for my heavenly Father stretched out His arm and fed me. Thus, I find the answer to my original question. When I wonder what is good, I say God. God is good. And how well my soul knows it.
God is great, God is good, and we thank Him for our food.