“Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly” (John 7:24).
Way back a long time ago, I was at a party. Something happened that has stuck with me all these years. I’d like to tell you about it, if you’ll bear with me.
The party was a holiday one and we had a white elephant gift exchange. When it was one’s turn, s/he could steal someone else’s gift or choose one from the remaining pile of unopened ones. One of the first people to open a gift found a fruitcake tin inside.
This party had a lot of people. I lost track of how many of them bypassed that tin. The guy who was “stuck” with it tried to make it sound more enticing and begged each person to take it from him. He wanted nothing to do with fruitcake.
Time after time, turn after turn, people went up and tried to choose the most beautiful packaging, hoping the gift inside would be something they would want to take home with them.
The fruitcake tin stayed with the original owner. He was downtrodden. With a frown, he mumbled about how maybe he could at least get people to eat it so he could dump the tin without feeling too bad. He pried the tin open. The woman who had brought it and added it to the gift pile looked on with a secret smile on her face.
When the lid was lifted off that tin, the entire room moaned. The owner was ecstatic! It wasn’t filled with fruitcake. It was filled with homemade chocolate chip cookies.
No matter how unhappy I am with my “fruitcake tin” right now . . . no matter unhappy you are . . . God has yet to reveal what’s under that lid. And we can be sure that the last few years we have lived are a gift, no matter the wrapping.
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11).
Prayer: Father in Heaven, help us to see the gift You have given us in allowing our lives to continue. Sometimes it’s hard to see our painful lives as a blessing. Thank You for always giving the best gifts, even if we don’t see them yet. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
About the author:
Shelly Hendricks is a wife and mother of 2 amazing kids. She was a teacher and a librarian in another life. She also suffers from Intracranial Hypertension, Interstitial Cystitis, and Essential Tremor. She had brain surgery in 2012, with a revision in 2014, and now considers herself to be a ‘bionic woman’ who is learning to walk again. Disability has been hard to deal with, but she depends on God for all strength and hopes to encourage others on this journey, through her blog at http://reneweddaily.com
Can you imagine your Father’s secret smile as you begin to pry that lid off?
This is the song “Forgiven and Loved” by Jimmy Needham. God loves us and does want to give us gifts and blessings. But remember, He has the long-term picture in His mind. He knows how what we deem as odd “gift wrap” can do for us–ultimately making us more Christ-like and joyful people. Hang in there. -Lisa