God's Perfect Gift, In His Perfect Timing
Self published - Facebook blog/devotional - October 19, 2011
Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. - Psalm 27:14
Put yourself in the mind of a child for a moment. You’re 10 years old and you have been thinking about that toy again. Christmas is approaching, and Dad just lost his job. You know it will be a lean holiday this year. The last time this happened, you felt lucky just to get anything under the tree. It wasn’t exactly what you had asked for, but it was wrapped up pretty with a big red bow on top. As the shiny wrapping paper fell open, you tried to hide your disappointment. You didn’t want to seem ungrateful. You knew Dad was doing the best he could. You held the toy car up for everyone to see and smiled big for the camera. After everyone was gone, and the celebration was over, you looked at it. Big and a little bulky, its blue plastic body gave way to the pressure of your fingers as you tried to navigate it around the floor. It was nothing like the shiny red sports car you had seen in the toy store window, that day you were walking in the square with Grandpa. That car was solid, built to last, with a metal body that would carry it across any kitchen floor at the speed of…well, fast. Really fast. You dreamed of all the races it would win, of all the places it would go! If only it was yours. Well, fat chance now. The blue plastic one would just have to do and you would make the best of it! No point crying over it. Just wipe the disappointment off your face, as Grandpa used to say, and get on with it. One day, you would be rich. Maybe when you were a grown up. Yeah, that’s it. Just buy it yourself. But it just didn’t seem the same. The dream…the one of seeing that shiny red car under the tree, ready for you to cherish and enjoy…just wouldn’t die. You decided to bury it inside you, keeping the dream alive, and swearing to tell no one. The dream might not ever become a reality, but at least you could take it out of your heart now and then and look at it, wondering what it would have been like if …
It’s been almost 30 years since that Christmas. You’re all grown up now. Life has become busy, hectic even. You’re the dad now. You’d like to give your kids all they would like, but the economy is tight and you’re doing the best you can. You remember your dad, how he always provided what you needed, even if your wants and dreams had to wait. He passed away last year. “Wow, how I wish he could have been here for just one more Christmas,” you think to yourself. Oh well, life goes on. Just wipe the disappointment off your face, as Grandpa used to say, and get on with it. It’s Christmas eve and you have presents to wrap. You think back to that shiny red racecar. “That sure was a beaut!” you catch yourself saying out loud. You wonder what ever happened to that toy store in the square, the one with the green awning and the brightly decorated windows, where you had spied that car for the first time, out of the corner of your eye. It went out of business years ago. You had been back once, as a young man, and was amazed to discover the shop keeper remembered the car you wanted. It was a special edition, one of a kind. This wasn’t just any car…those were cheap and easy to find. No, this was unique … and expensive. Someone had put a payment down on it years ago, he said, and had been slowly but surely paying on it, little by little. Even if you wanted it, he couldn’t sell it to you. He was holding it for the other buyer, whom he was sure would come back any day and complete the purchase. As you left the store, it felt like your dream had just been crushed by one of those machines in the junk yard that turn cars into scrap metal. It was finished. Done. No way to get it now. You’d just have to find a replacement dream. It wouldn’t be the same, but it might do. Just like the blue plastic car Dad got you that first Christmas. It wasn’t the same, but good enough for now. Just wipe the disappointment off your face, as Grandpa used to say, and get on with it.
The kids were so excited, you could hardly hear yourself think, when Christmas morn rolled around the next day. You were happy for them, remembering the anticipation of so many Christmases before. You loved to see the joy on their face, the surprised look when they realized you knew exactly what they wanted for Christmas, even though they hadn’t told you! Whatever sacrifice you had to make, it was worth it. They were worth it. You loved them so very much. This year was the same. As all the presents came out from under the tree, the smiles from the kids lit up the room and you were just happy to be able to capture them all with that new digital camera you picked up last week. It was your Christmas present to yourself. After all, who else was there? The kids were through, the pictures were taken, and then you spied it. One little package left under the tree. Your name was on it…but who was it from? Where did it come from? As you gently removed the ribbon from around the box, you saw something on the bottom. A logo. What? A toy store? The name sounded vaguely familiar. Your curiosity was really getting the best of you now. As you slowly opened the box and got a glimpse of what was inside, a tear came to your eye. A shiny red sports car, special edition. Unique, one of a kind. With a note attached: Merry Christmas, son. Some dreams take a little longer than others to become a reality. May all of yours come true. Love, Dad.
In doing my Bible study this morning, I read the story of Samson. I imagined the look on his mother’s face, when in the midst of her busyness, resigned to her status as a barren and childless woman, an angel of God appeared, telling her, “You’re pregnant. You’re going to give birth to a son.” Can you even imagine what that must have been like for her? I’m sure she must have thought she was dreaming, that she must have been seeing things. Her? Pregnant? She had hidden that dream away in her heart years ago. She wasn’t even sure if it existed anymore. She had learned to be content with what she had. A husband, friends, her faith. That would have to be enough. But here she was, faced with this amazing miracle. After all these years, her dream was finally coming true. Not of her own making, but of God’s. A gift only he could give.
How often have we held dreams in our hearts, wishing and hoping and praying they would come true, only to find our hopes dashed? I think most of us believe that God just isn’t listening. Or maybe he never heard our prayer to begin with. We try and make it happen on our own, and it just doesn’t happen. Some dreams can only be left in the hands of God, for him to fulfill…in His perfect timing.
Psalm 27:14 reminds us to “wait patiently for the Lord.” For most of us, the idea of “waiting patiently” is difficult, if not impossible. And those of us who know the Lord realize that he can take a long time to answer prayer! But God is telling us in this verse “be patient for Me”. He wants us to know. He’s heard our cries. He knows our pain. He knows our desires. And he knows what we need. Sometimes it’s what we’ve prayed for and sometimes it’s something even better. But he always knows what we need and when we need it…so today, as you hold that dream in your heart, don’t let go of it, but be patient. Wait on Him. You never know when it will show up, when you least expect it.