Expectations were high as the family of four gathered for Micah’s seventh birthday dinner. (Birthday celebrations bring wide-eyed excitement for most seven-year-olds, and my grandson is no exception.) The festive table had been set, the cake had been made, and the gifts had been placed beside the table. After extinguishing the flames (as much as seven candles produce) with a burst of wish-laden breath, Micah was presented with his gifts. Gracie was thrilled to present him with Pokémon supplies.
Next, mom and dad handed him his eagerly anticipated gift. He quickly unwrapped the paper to expose the exciting gift of— underwear. He was gracious and thankful to his parents—but they could tell that underneath the grateful response stood unexpressed disappointment. They shared their love for Micah, and the evening continued, with happy kids.
Earlier in the week Micah’s room had been declared “off limits” for the week. He thought the reason was that something toxic was being removed from his room—something which he needed avoid. He took the warning seriously, and never even thought about opening the door before he was given the “okay.” The day before his room went “off limits,” mom had gathered his needed belongings for the next few days. Micah temporarily moved into his sister’s room—an arrangement they both thoroughly enjoyed.
About ten minutes after opening his gifts Micah heard his mom’s voice calling for him. He inquired as to her whereabouts—to which she responded, “Just follow my voice.” The other three family members followed his lead as he followed her voice which led to his room.
He stood outside the door as his mom assured him he could now enter. As he walked through the door he looked around in disbelief. He had no words to express his pleasure.
Actually, I’m not sure who was more excited. Micah or his parents!
You see—the “work” that had been done that week was a complete remodeling of his room. This was his birthday surprise. His broken flimsy bed had been replaced with a full sized bed dressed in vibrant New England Patriot coverings. An old desk from his parent’s room had been painted and refreshed just for him. Pictures of his favorite sports heroes donned the walls along with meaningful pictures of family. The room was filled with all that was special to him.
He had graciously accepted the underwear as his gift, never imagining the elaborate and painstakingly planned room awaiting his arrival.
How often in life we feel we are given underwear when we were hoping for something different. Our needs are met, but often not exactly in the ways we may have hoped or dreamed. Disappointments, loss, health challenges, financial troubles, and relationship difficulties in our lives can feel sort of like receiving underwear for a gift.
God never has it in his mind to hurt us. It’s just that in this temporary world can not yet experience life without the effects of the prince of evil…and this world is in a fallen state. Even so, no matter what we face, God lavishes his love on us. The internal blessings of the comfort of his love (Php. 2:1), hope that does not disappoint, joy that he pours into our hearts (Romans 5:5), and peace that passes human understanding (Php 4:7) can’t be replaced by any objects, circumstances, or things. God is preparing us for the day when no “toxicity” can reach us and is refining our character so we can follow his voice. He knows this life is short, and is eager and excited to call to us to find him—and to enjoy the amazing eternity with him. Prepared just for us.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope
that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Romans 8:18-21)
No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.
None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”–
but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:7-10)
You may feel like you have opened underwear, but life is way bigger than underwear. Listen for God’s voice as you learn from him through his word. Let it lead you to a new perspective, a heavenly perspective that will last forever. An eternity with him that nothing can take from you. It’s going to be inexpressibly perfect. No words are sufficient to describe what he has lovingly prepared for us.