I could hear them in the living room, discussing the gift she was about the open. Every time she completed a task in her favorite iPad game, Joanna got to choose a virtual “present” to open. Joanna was matter-of-factly informing her daddy that she wanted the “green horsie.”
“Joanna,” I could hear Dave explaining, “You don’t get to decide which gift you get. You need to just open it up and see what it is.”
Joanna, not deterred by her father’s obviously illogical explanation, persisted. “Green horsie, pleeeease!”
She eventually opened up the present on the screen, discovering, much to her dismay, that it was NOT a green horsie. Sadness ensued.
“Hon, you need to be thankful for the gift you’ve been given,” I found myself shouting from the kitchen.
I’m not a 2-year-old. But I get it. I understand the plight of my daughter, who longs for a gift they haven’t been given, and despises the one they just opened.
Think back to your Christmas-time experiences as a 6-year-old. You’ve been anxiously waiting for Christmas morning to come, and it finally does, and you tear into the presents hoping desperately for that new doll, or computer game, or paint set, or robot, but you open the box only to discover your most frequently-received, and most-despised gift…new clothes.
I find myself shouting “Green horsie!” on most days – demanding a gift from God, telling him what I think I want, upset when the gift I open isn’t what I’ve asked for.
Why can’t I take my own advice? Be thankful for the gift I’ve been given? SEE it as a gift, and not a curse, (like new clothes to a 6-year-old)?
My Father, the best gift-giver, isn’t arbitrary. He isn’t guessing. And He certainly isn’t frowning when He hands us gifts – He chooses each one carefully, perfectly, specifically, because he knows us intimately and loves us dearly.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 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! (Matt 7)
If I am a daughter of the King, then ALL things can be beautiful, because all He gives are gifts. What I see as broken, messy, and ugly, God declares a gift. I may not be able to say “thank you” in the moment, but one day in heaven, I will praise God for every gift he has ever given, thanking my Father that he gave me the BEST, and didn’t just fill my life with petty green horsies.