“The Minneapolis Miracle” was just named one of the top 10 plays of all time by the National Football League. With only 10 seconds left in a 2018 division playoff game, The Minnesota Vikings trailed the New Orleans Saints by a score of 24-23. Fans sat despondently as the Vikings lined up for one last, desperate play at their own 39-yard line. Quarterback Case Keenum barked out the signals for the play—called “Seven Heaven”— then stepped back to pass the ball deep. Receiver Stephon Diggs ran the designed route then caught the ball on the run as the defender missed tackling him. Barely keeping his footing, Diggs turned and ran into the end zone for a game-ending touchdown. It was an emotional finish that one commentator called “a gift.” The entire offense contributed to the success of that play, but ultimately it took two people —the sender (quarterback) and the receiver—for the gift to be ultimately fulfilled and realized.

God is the giver of good and perfect gifts. 

Like a football receiver, when we follow God’s plan and route for our life, we are blessed to become receivers of His gifts. The gifts can be physical (provision), intellectual (wisdom), emotional (contentment), and—best of all—spiritual. God’s gifts can be for a moment, a season, a lifetime, or eternity. They are sometimes given for our benefit and enjoyment, and other times given for us to in turn give to others. I am thankful for the times in my life when I received miraculous gifts, like the time someone paid for a dryer I badly needed in my younger years when I didn’t have any money. To this day, I thank God for the dear people that generously helped me, even as they acknowledged that God is the One who provided them with the resources to help others.   

One lesson I have learned is this:

Gift-givers are first receivers who, out of love, become gift-givers to others out of what God has given them.

From the breath in our bodies to the amazing planet we are blessed to live on, God’s good gifts are all around us. God is the prime source and ultimate giver of all good and perfect gifts. Gift giving is an integral part of His being, as the Scripture says:

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”

James 1:17

Look closely at that passage and you will see that there are two gifts that God gives: 1) GOOD; and 2) PERFECT. Implied in that statement is that not everything we ask for is good or perfect. God only offers the best gifts that will draw us closer to Him, sustain us in this life, bring us lasting joy, and grow us into His likeness. God is not our personal Genie or Santa Clause who gives us every whim or desire we ask for. Instead, God is our all-wise, loving Father who gives us only that which He knows is best for us. Someone once told me God answers our prayers with one of three answers:

“Yes”

“Not now”

“I’ve got a better idea”

The times when we hear God’s answer “not now” or “I’ve got a better idea” can be hard or painful. In the moments when we don’t understand, we can still be receivers of God’s gifts, knowing this: 

“We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”

Romans 8:28

God’s answers to our prayers flow out of His love and desire for our eternal welfare:

“For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you shall call upon Me, and you shall come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You shall seek Me and find Me, when you shall search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29: 11-13

When we follow God’s route (seeking Him wholeheartedly), then we become the receivers of his blessings (a future, a hope, and access to God in our prayers).

God is not a stingy, hesitant Giver but an immensely generous one. His best and ultimate gift is Jesus Christ!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life”

John 3:16

Jesus is the ultimate good and perfect gift that God offers to each of us, for a new start and forever relationship with the Father! I hope you will become the receiver of Jesus Christ, the best gift of all. This personal miracle will forever outshine the Minneapolis miracle, and I hope you catch it!

The “G’ of my God alphabet is this: God is the giver of all good and perfect gifts. Are you ready to be a designated receiver of His gifts?

God bless you!

Chris Atkins