Picture with me if you will, a child on the morning after Christmas. They sit on their bedroom floor surrounded by new toys and clothes. The scene could rival that of a messy shop floor on the first day of the January sales. Suddenly, the Father hears His child crying. Alarmed, He runs to their bedroom. “My child, what’s the matter?” He asks. From behind watery eyes, the child looks up. “I’ve got nothing to do, dad. And nothing to wear.” Bewildered by His child’s outburst, the Father looks around the cluttered bedroom. He checks He’s not forgotten to give His child their gifts. He doesn’t need to look far, the pair are surrounded by the generous giving of the Father. The child has, in fact, been given more than they could hope for. “My child.” The Father whispers. “Look up. You’ve got more in this bedroom than you could possibly need or ask for.” Realisation spreads across their face as the child lifts their teary gaze and their eyes are drawn instantly to the abundance of new toys and clothes. They stand and begin to make their way over to the closest pile. Suddenly hesitant, the child looks back over their shoulder at the Father. “Can I?” The child asks, evidently overwhelmed by such generosity. The Father smiles. “My darling, these gifts are yours.” Returning the smile, and walking with a more hurried pace now, the child approaches the pile of presents. They pick one of the toys up, happiness suddenly etched across their face. The Father quietly slips out of the room, leaving His child to familiarise themselves with what they’ve been given. He knows this is going to take a while.

The image I’ve tried to capture here, was painted vividly in my mind after reading the following:

“She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.” (Proverbs 31:17)

I was grateful for the picture my mind’s eye painted, inspired by these words. “She dresses herself…” At first I found it a little confusing. ‘God gives the strength’ I thought. This just looks like self-help. But I soon rethought this idea. How could she have dressed herself with something that wasn’t already hers?

God does give the strength, just like the Father in the story gave the gifts to His child. In fact, if we were able to visualise all we’ve been given, we’d be literally stunned. But that’s not where it stops. We have a part to play here. We must choose to equip ourselves the courage our Heavenly Father has gifted us, dress ourselves in the strength we’ve been freely given, surround ourselves with the peace and comfort He has provided us with. 

Like the child in the story, if we are complaining to our Father about what we don’t have, we may well just need to look up and see the absolute abundance we’ve been generously given, and walk in it.