Today's team journal was written by our Team Lead, Natalie Herr.
God does not withhold good things from us.
God does not withhold good things from me.
God does not withhold good things from those who are seeking Him.
With God, we have all we need.
In the past week, I’ve written all four of those phrases in the margins of my Bible. The repetition of my own reactions to Scripture caught my eye. When did I start believing the lie that God is withholding things from me?
Like any gal who’s been schooled a bit in Bible study, my first thought was to look up the original meaning of the Hebrew word for “withhold” used in Psalm 84:11. The Hebrew word is mana’ (not to be confused with the word manna (referring to bread), which coincidently, God did not withhold!) which means to hold back, keep from, refrain or deny.
When I look at my relatively easy, white American life - my ‘used to be dead but now alive’ life - how can I say that God has held anything back from me? How can I say that He’s denied anything good from me? What is it that I think He is actually keeping from me?
I’m not sure how to answer that question just yet, but I’m led back again to this truth: everything I have is from the Lord. EVERY. THING. Every single thing. It’s all been given to me. God didn’t keep me back from my mother’s womb in 1986. He didn’t keep me back from growing up and learning and living. He didn’t withhold my husband or my four children or my home or my community. And He, FOR SURE, did not keep his Son from me. He gave me the ultimate gift in Jesus that I didn’t even know I needed. Ironically, I didn’t know I needed Him partly because of all the other gifts that He gave to me were clouding my view of the Giver and my need for a Redeemer.
I think of the passage in Luke 11 where Jesus is talking about dads; how they’d never give their kid a scorpion instead of an egg, or a serpent instead of a fish. If good human dads give their kids good gifts, then how much more does our good God? How can I say He’s been keeping anything good from me? Jesus says to simply ask and that God, in turn, would be delighted to give me anything that aligns with His will for my life.
“Oh fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”
- Psalm 34:9
God is all powerful, and He definitely has the power to withhold things. There is evidence of that all over Scripture and all over our lives. But if we believe God’s Word, we have to believe that the things He has kept away from us have been for our good and for our protection. Perhaps, if we spent more time looking at the gift of God himself instead of our lack of “good” things, we would see that this is absolutely true.
So yes, God is storing up good things. But He doesn’t keep them away from those who seek Him. He doesn’t deny good from us when we ask. He doesn’t have a heavenly storehouse of wonderful things that we can’t have. Because of Jesus, there’s no sign on any door in heaven that says, “Natalie can NOT come in.”
In response to all of this, I hear God asking me to STOP spending time thinking about things I don’t have or far-off dreams that are not yet realized. Instead I hear Him saying, “Enjoy what I have given you RIGHT NOW. Today. Enjoy ME. Seek ME.” I hear Him calling me to reflect Him by not withholding good things from others when it is within my power to do so (Proverbs 3:27). I hear Him telling me to name my desires and see if they honor Him; and when they do, to ask Him boldly for those good gifts, and then to get ready to watch Him work.
This is what I know with certainty: When my heart is aligned with His heart and when I am walking in His ways, I can ask Him for anything and believe that He will deliver.
He does not withhold good things from us.
He does not withhold good things from me.
I will repeat that refrain from now until eternity.
Lord, help me to believe what I know is true: that you don’t withhold good things from your kids and that everything I have here and now is very good. Grow gratefulness in me, stir up awe and wonder and fear of you deep down in my soul. Set my gaze squarely on you, and help me believe that you love me like a good dad. Help me notice the good things that you are giving me all day, every day. I want to bless Your Name always - not just when You give, but also when You take away (Job 1:21). You didn’t hold back from Your hungry Israelites and You, oh God, won’t hold back from me (Neh 9:20). Show me how to reflect Your nature in this way - by not withholding good from the people within my influence. Let Your generosity flow through me to others around me. Let it be so, in Jesus’ name! Amen!
Natalie Herr is the founder and team leader of Dayton Women in the Word. She is a servant of God, a wife, a mom of four and a God-sized dreamer. She loves teaching and equipping women with God's Word.