God answers our prayers. And God always answers out of His goodness.

I think most of us would agree with those statements. Scripture certainly affirms it.

  • “Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the person who takes refuge in him!” (Ps. 34:8).
  • “The Lord is good to everyone; his compassion rests on all he has made” (Ps. 145:9).

But let’s be honest and transparent for a moment. Have you ever complained about an answer God gave you? OK, so many “complain” is a little too strong. Maybe you said, “Thanks, God, but …” and proceeded to add an addendum to your previous request.

Let me say it again. God always answers out of His goodness. He can do nothing less. I often need that reminder.

If I do not receive the answer I wanted or in a way I think is better, I have to remind myself that God knows me better than I know myself. He sees the full, bigger picture of my life. He knows exactly what I need, and although I may not see it at that moment, what He actually provided is better than what I expected.

But complaining is so natural to us.

God had done so much good for the Israelites at the time of the exodus from Egypt. With all these incredible jaw-dropping miracles, God set them free from enslavement. And when all that was behind them and the Egyptian army was floating face down in the Red Sea, they sang a song of praise to God—yet turned right around and complained. A mere few verses after their praise ….

“The entire Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. Instead, you brought us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of hunger!’” (Ex. 16:2-3).

God had been so good to them, but it wasn’t good enough. They were free (!!), but that wasn’t good enough. They still had to learn to trust God in that what He was providing—even in the arid desert—was good for them and exactly what they needed.

When we compare what God does in others’ lives with what He does in our own, discontentment sets in. So what if someone has a bigger house than you? So what if their kids are better looking? So what if someone climbs the corporate ladder ahead of you? Can’t we be thankful for all the good God has brought into our lives instead of complaining about the perceived good He didn’t bring?

The greatest example of God’s goodness toward us is what He has given us through Jesus Christ. We are so unworthy of His grace and love, yet He loves us anyway. Jesus died to give us freedom, forgiveness, and an eternal life that far outshines anything in this life. 

  • “God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
  • “He did not even spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything?” (8:32).

He’s already given you His best—Jesus Christ—and everything that follows is also good. God’s good gifts to you are perfectly suited to you.

I recently read an account from a young adult who told of a life-changing moment in his life. He had a meeting with his professor, and as he entered the professor’s office, he saw a framed photograph of three Guatemalan children.

The professor noticed what his student was looking at and said, “Let me tell you about those kids. They’re happy. Do you know why they’re happy? They’re grateful. They have so little, but they are thankful for what they have.”

The professor turned his attention to the reason for their meeting, but this young adult could only think about the gratefulness of three poverty-striven children. It changed his perspective.

Perhaps we need to change our perspective as well. Drop the comparisons. Lose the “Why me?” complex. No matter where you are in life, no matter how tempted you are to wish God had blessed you in other ways, know this: someone is looking at you and wishing they had what you have.

God is good, and He proves each of us just what we need at just the right time. For that, we can be grateful.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (Jas. 1:17).

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