I stared at the return address on the package I’d just picked up from the post office. I didn’t recognize the name, but then, I don’t know anyone in Israel. Olivia, one of my best friends, had mentioned in passing that if I received a weird package in the mail, it was from her. This was definitely weird; hence, it had to be from her. I traced the Hebrew markings with my finger and wracked my brain trying to figure out what was inside. It was a tube. It felt solid and heavier than you’d expect for its size. When I shook the package, nothing. “Something must be inside; it came from halfway around the world,” I reasoned.
As soon as I got back to the car, I called Olivia. “Did you send me a package from Israel?” I asked.”YES! Do you love it?” She was clearly delighted with her gift, with laughter in her voice. When I told her I hadn’t opened it yet, she said, “Call me once you’ve opened it.”
When I got home, I had to work up the courage to open the tube because I honestly hate opening unexpected gifts. I always worry that it’s going to be something terrible and that I’m going to have to choose between lying to or disappointing the giver. It doesn’t even occur to me that I’ll like it at first.
What I lost sight of was the fact that Olivia is an exceptional gift giver. Her gifts are always thoughtful and reflect a keen understanding of the recipient. She’s given me countless gifts that I’ve adored. She’s introduced me to many musicians, movies, and TV shows that were pivotal for me. I really didn’t have any reason to worry based on her track record, but I couldn’t help it. I stared at my mysterious gift a bit longer.
Likewise, often I am paralyzed by fear when it comes to receiving the gifts God longs for me to enjoy. I get so afraid of the unknown that I refuse to move. I turn away or change the subject, just so that I don’t have to venture into the unknown territory when he beckons. For the past several months, I’ve stared at a scary, new gift that I know God wants me to “open,” but I’ve found every reason not to. All of my reasons boil down to, “What if it just isn’t right for me?”
God’s track record is perfect. His gifts, especially the ones I hesitated to open (e.g. parenting) have blown me away. I shouldn’t wonder, “What if it won’t fit?” or “What if he doesn’t ‘get’ me?” yet I do. Even when I can think back to countless perfect gifts from God that betray his understanding of me to my core, I hesitate. Even when the Bible plainly states that every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17), I doubt. Even when Jesus taught “If even sinful people can give good gifts, how much more could God give such gifts?” (Matthew 7:11), I assume it’s abstract or meant for someone else.
But it’s not. God is my Heavenly Father, who loves me as his child. He is my creator, who knew me before I was born and sees every day of my life yet to come. Of course his gifts will fit me perfectly!
When I finally opened Olivia’s gift, it was amazing. It was perfect. It was…a cat poster for my office.
If she can give such amazing gifts, how much more can my Heavenly Father? I should listen to my new poster and “believe.”