Sometimes God gives gifts that come wrapped in worn-looking paper. I call them tattered gifts. Something that no one would ever choose for themselves. Ugly, painful and full of disappointment and hopelessness. It doesn’t sound like something a loving God would do, or a gift a faithful God would provide.
Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to find the real gift nestled inside all the outer layers.
If you are a parent, you probably remember buying gifts for your new little one. You excitedly wrapped each gift in cute paper with adorable drawings or characters, and more than likely, placed a colorful bow on top. You anticipated watching (and recording) as your precious offspring unwrapped this token of your love and affection, only to stare in disbelief as they tossed aside the REAL gift and started playing with the box, the bow or even the wrapping paper!
That’s how we often treat the gifts God gives when it’s something we really don’t want.
I was talking with a friend and mentor the other day. I always enjoy our regularly scheduled meetings. She stretches me with spiritual questions and thoughts and we look at the nature of God and His word, and how to practically apply it to our lives. After all, if all we can do is read the Bible and not expect it to change or impact us in any way, then isn’t it just another best seller in a ton of different translations?
We were talking about family life; kids, marriage and how to balance the many challenges. We were exchanging ways we walk out what we believe, even when it gets really hard and very, very personal.
I was intrigued as I listened to her describe the marriage she aspires to have and how it so coincides with the marriage between Christ and the Church, His Bride. I couldn’t argue with a thing she said. I know that what she spoke of is exactly how God created marriage to be from the very beginning.
I gotta tell you, though, I’ve been around a decade or five and I’ve seen a lot of ways that marriage is played out. I’ve personally gone through some incredibly trying, times in my thirty-eight years of marital bliss. It’s just not as easy as the picture she painted, and she would be the first one to admit it.
It was later in the evening that I penned these words while I thought through the conversation that had occurred that afternoon:
“I enjoy my times with my friend. She is a wise and godly woman, someone I admire and aspire to be like when I grow up, even though she’s younger than me. Here is the question I am struggling with – What if the marriage that I get (or anyone else who is experiencing struggles) is the one God chose for me? What if a better marriage is just as God-honoring as the one we both know God originally designed?”
I must admit, I don’t know the answer to that question just yet, nor have I had the opportunity to discuss it with her. I will the next time we meet. But until then, I am choosing to trust that our God has my best interest in His heart, mind and plans, and He will continue to lead the way toward His best as long as I am willing to unwrap those undesirable and unwanted tattered gifts He so lovingly gives.