Is this a divine dilemma? God is good and every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights. God blesses, endlessly, joyfully, “recklessly.”
And all we have to do to experience the super-abundance of His blessings is not put His blessings above Him in our affections or desires.
The paradigm of temptation is the first one. It is the first of only two times when the father of lies tempted a sinless person on earth. You can be assured he pulled out every stop, planned it carefully, and executed his mission precisely.
Consider the context: Adam and Eve, the Bible tells us, were placed in the Garden of Delights and were told that they could eat of any of the fruits of every tree but one. Every tree was good, every tree was pleasant, every fruit was satisfying.
Not one tree was God, the maker of the trees. For reasons perhaps inscrutable, God tested the man and the woman, giving them the opportunity to express their faithfulness to Him by necessitating a limitation. In other words, by demanding a choice from our first parents, God presented them with an opportunity to demonstrate their love for Him in the highest way of all: by choosing Him over His gifts.
They chose the gift. So, usually, do we.
In choosing the gift, we close our souls to the giver. By closing our souls to the giver, we close ourselves to the abundance of the gifts. Receiving fewer of the gifts, we regard them with ever more anxiety and care. Our minds and our hearts, worried and anxious about many things, become angry and turn from the One who would give us everything if only we would receive from Him the One Thing Needful.
What ought God to do? He is good, and that will never change. It is His nature to give. He is an ever-flowing fountain of good. So He gives.
Like our first parents, we take everything He gives and seek it and honor it more than we seek and honor Him.
Some people realize what they are doing, and they repent. They turn in sorrow of heart and humble themselves before God and seek to place Him first in their hearts. All heaven rejoices when this happens. They offer up the fatted calf and place it before the repentant one. But he is so upset about his sinful and disordered soul that, quite naturally, he is afraid of the gifts.
When the fatted calf is served up, he closes his heart to it. When Christ comes to him with all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, he is to afraid to receive them for fear that they will make him stumble. Christ in His kindness patiently sits with such a person.
He explains, though He is rarely heard by the anxious soul, that the Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of Total Blessing. He explains that the Kingdom of God seeks to bring everything into its dominion because God alone is Good and blesses all things: the animals and plants that await the revealing of the sons of God with heavy groanings, the rocks (granite and limestone, gold and salt) that sing His glory, the men and women whose hearts are so afraid of another disappointment that they cannot believe that the one who is All Good really intends, plans, and accomplishes the complete satisfaction and joy of anybody who receives Him.
He explains that He is working in those who love Him an eternal weight of glory.
But the frightened newly faithful child turns away from the promises of goodness perfectly achieved because the risk is to great. He is too frightened to be thankful. He soul is too clouded to exult.
So he expresses a new doctrine – one rooted not in faith but in fear. His core teaching is a corruption of I Corinthias 7: “Come out from among and be ye separate.” Instead of confidently receiving every good gift from God and putting it in its rightful place, enjoying it when and as he ought, he not only closes his heart to the goodness of God, but he instructs others not to enjoy the divine goodness as well.
It works for him. He was drawn through the gifts he now regrets to the giver of gifts. His children, not so much. They come to think that his God is a miser. God expresses His goodness in His gifts. Prevented from receiving these gifts (apart from a few regarded as more sacred, but more or less incomprehensible to the child), the child is prevented from seeing the goodness of God embodied in those gifts.
God knows that his children are inclined to put His gifts above Him, but He does not live in the fear that we tend to be controlled by. He is good. He gives. Endlessly. Infinitely. Eternally.
His children are given the task of ordering His gifts so that He can give even more. His children are given the stewardship of His goodness so that the whole creation enjoys the Dominion of Blessing for which He made them.
Some of them are much too spiritual (i.e. afraid to be happy) to be a blessing to the creation.
Their children go the other way. They don’t know how to relate to the creation either, so they eagerly embrace it and turn God into an abstraction that they can use to justify their indulgence in the gifts.
What should God do? Should He honor the desire of the fearful and stop giving? Then He would not be God anymore.
Instead He gives and gives and gives again. He even gives a solution. He gives His Son (whom his children also turn into an abstract symbol so as to avoid the duties of blessing). With His Son He gives an instruction – but it is the same instruction He had given with all His gifts:
All we have to do is teach our souls to say “Thank You.” Then all will be healed and made one In Christ.