The concept has been heavy on my mind lately.
My family and I just moved to our dream home. The house is not extravagant, by any means. Still, it certainly fits our family beautifully, and it offers amenities that we never imagined we would enjoy at this point in our lives. Indeed, friends and family who know our story understand that this home is nothing but a gift from God.
Years ago, we lost a substantial amount of money when we had to sell a business at a significant loss. Soon afterward, my health took a turn for the worse. I had three major surgeries in six years, one of which was due to cancer. These valleys greatly impacted our family in many ways, especially financially.
One of our spiritual practices as a couple has been to pay tithes to the church. My husband and I committed to starting tithing early in our marriage and have continued to do so, even during bleak financial times. It is a practice that often did not make sense, but we chose to follow God's ordinance and trust him for the outcome. We opened our hands and gave up financial comfort and pleasures, believing that God had "something better" behind his back.
And he always did. Indeed, I could write a book about the incredible, often supernatural ways God has provided for my needs during difficult times and how life's setbacks became a channel through which God strengthened my faith. But perhaps the best lesson in the process has been to experience the results of trusting God when he closed certain doors.
As a single adult, I felt like the little girl in the meme when my boyfriend of four years cheated on me with one of my closest friends. I felt like the rug was pulled from under me when the man I believed was my soul mate and the friend I confided in broke my trust. At the time, I did not understand it, because I firmly thought that I had the most lavish teddy bear in my arms. But all along, God knew better. The teddy was second-rate. He had something far better behind his back.
And then there was the time we started the process of selling our home to move closer to my husband’s job, only to watch God close that door. Not long after that, his employer implemented a workforce reduction initiative, thus eliminating his 12-year career in that firm. We didn’t understand it. In our hearts, we wanted to hold on to a puny teddy bear, not realizing that God had a much better job behind his back. He rewarded our faithfulness with the job that would allow us to be in a position to move to the home we never imagined we could have.
As you read this column today, you may find yourself in a situation where something or someone you love is slowly (or rapidly) slipping through your fingers. Or maybe you feel convicted to open your hands and give away something that you think you cannot live without. If that is you, I hope my story and the popular meme about God's gifts encourage you to open your hands, surrender whatever you are holding on to, and realize that God is not saying "no" to your dreams. He's just saying: "Trust me. I've got something better."
Coming from someone who has proven and tested this truth time and again, I can certainly tell you: You don't want to miss it.
Patricia Holbrook is a columnist, author, blogger and international speaker. Her newly published Bible Study – Twelve Inches – is now available on her website www.soaringwithHim.com. For speaking engagements and comments, email pholbrook@soaringwithHim.com