“A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life” (John 10:10). As many times as I have read and taught this verse, I never fully appreciated how Jesus contrasts Himself with a thief! Some say the word thief in this verse refers to false shepherds who come with selfish motives. Others say it refers to Satan: a thief and murder. Either way contrasts taking and giving. Why? When people experience loss, they see it negatively—as God taking away something they loved.
When someone dies, people will say, “The Lord took him." When someone loses a job, people may say, "Well, the Lord gives; the Lord takes away." And some Christians cynically speak of the church offering as the church or preacher taking their money! Many people reluctantly give themselves to God because of this false view that He is taking away their freedom.
Remember how the Hebrews reacted right after they had crossed over the Red Sea? They sang and danced with great joy because God had given them freedom. But within days, they were complaining that God had taken away their leeks and onion. Like the Israelites, we are tempted to see God’s actions in a negative light. If you are currently struggling with feelings that God has taken away something from you, ask Him to reveal His true nature to you. The more you get to know Him as a giver of good things (James 1:17) the more you will be able to see the abundant life He has given, and is giving, you.