ONE TO ONE: Lessons About Life, Ministry, and Grandkids
I Don't Love It!
Our family has established a few holiday traditions at Christmastime. Following the Christmas Eve service at church we enjoy a meal together at a restaurant. On Christmas Day we sing happy birthday to Jesus before blowing out the candles on a cake baked especially for the occasion. We also gather with loved ones to exchange and open gifts.
This past Christmas we attempted to eliminate some of the chaos by dividing the gifts into stacks for each recipient. To further uncomplicate the process we decided to allow each person to open one gift at a time, starting with the youngest member of the family.
Our three-year-old grandson, Phillip, had the honor of opening the first package. He excitedly removed the ribbon and ripped away the wrapping to reveal a new pair of pajamas. He was unimpressed, to say the least. As the process continued, other grandchildren opened presents, mostly toys or games on their “wish list.” Squeals of delight and exclamations of “Oh, I love it!” were common expressions of joy.
Eventually, the time came for Phillip to open a second present. He looked over the stack of gifts carefully before making his selection. This time, he was more subdued and he opened the treasure cautiously. The look on his face was priceless as he stared in disbelief at the contents…a piece of rope. With disappointment in his voice, he announced to us all, “I do not love it,” and quickly exited the room.
Little did he realize another gift was intended to accompany the lariat rope—two six-shooter cap guns with holsters. It was a perfect ensemble for the aspiring little cowboy. In time, we managed to coax him back into the living room to open his remaining gifts. Needless to say, his demeanor changed when he finally eyed the toy pistols.
Later, as I reflected on the incident, I was reminded that I am not unlike my grandson. My prayer life looks more like a Christmas wish list than the biblical spiritual discipline it’s supposed to be. I approach my heavenly Father with certain expectations, and if they’re not met, I tend to be disappointed.
The truth is, the Lord doesn’t always give us what we want. Instead, He wisely and lovingly gives us what we need. Unfortunately, our spiritual immaturity and short sightedness rob us of the ability to see past our selfishness and appreciate the gifts He sends our way.
Occasionally, God allows us to receive things we didn’t ask for…things that bring heartache, disappointment, and even pain. We are inclined to cry out, “I do not love it,” and run away from our Father rather than running to Him. When those times come, we must not lose sight of the fact that there are many good gifts remaining to be opened. So receive each gift from God in the spirit it is given. You will love it! “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17a).
About the Column
One to One is a regular feature of ONE Magazine. Written by Keith Burden, executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, the column explores life, ministry...and the joys of grandchildren.