by Gary Henry
Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
and for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
and fills the hungry soul with goodness. (Psa 107:8-9)
One of life’s most important insights is the understanding that we were created to be the recipients of God’s glory and grace. We are vessels. We are instruments. We are personal beings to whom and through whom God intends to communicate the benevolence of His own character. When we learn to see ourselves in this way — as existing for the purpose of receiving God’s goodness — we are then able to glorify Him in a higher way than we ever could have done in the past.
There is, as the old saying goes, a God-shaped hole in our hearts that only God can fill. Most of us recognize that God is perfectly able to fulfill our needs as our Creator. What we perhaps don’t recognize as well is that God is the only adequate fulfillment of our needs. Having been made for this very purpose, if our hearts are not filled with Him, we can only die. Between life and death, there is no middle way.
It marks a huge step in the growth of any person when he or she learns the truth of Jesus’ statement, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). It is also important, however, for us to see that what we’re to receive is that which we’re intended to give from God: His goodness. We were created not merely to be receptacles of God’s grace, but channels through which that grace would be conveyed to others.
Paul’s prayer for his Christian friends in Rome was typical of his wish for Christians everywhere else: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom 15:13). There is simply no higher request we can make, at least insofar as our human needs are concerned. When we see that this is the meaning of life — to be filled with God ourselves, and then to communicate Him to others — we can begin to fulfill the potential for which we were made.
“It is the goodness of God, and a desire to communicate this good, that inspired creation. We are designed to receive God’s goodness.” (William Law)