My friend’s son delighted our four-year-old one summer by inviting Brant to drive his battery-powered three-wheeler. Watching Brant’s delight planted an idea. A three-wheeler would make the perfect Christmas gift for him.
My husband and I were thrilled that December when we located a store that had a red one on sale. We stretched our seminary student budget and bought it. A smile lit my face every time I imagined Brant’s surprise on Christmas morning.
But Brant wasn’t thrilled. It wasn’t blue. It didn’t matter that red was his favorite color; Brant believed the blue one was better. That year, his friends and sister scooted around on the three-wheeler, but Brant wouldn’t touch it.
The next summer we visited my friends again. The blue three-wheeler was still there. But, it was smaller and more worn than Brant had remembered. Realizing his toy was bigger and better changed his attitude toward it. But, by this time, because Larry had finished seminary and we were moving, he’d promised it to a man for his grandchildren.
We’d given Brant a wonderful gift. But it didn’t benefit him because he didn’t believe it was a good gift. When our son dismissed his gift, he wasn’t the only one who missed out. His four-year old immaturity robbed us of the joy we’d anticipated sharing with him.
Unfortunately, as adults, we often repeat my son’s childhood folly. We miss the joy of a good gift because it doesn’t look like we imagined. And worse, we question our Father’s love for us.
We get an idea in our heads that if God loved us, He’d give us exactly what we asked for. When His gift doesn’t look like we imagined, we’re disappointed. The idea that His gift is better than what we asked for never enters our minds.
I remember asking God to help me become a better communicator. I envisioned ease and joy in conversations and the exchange of ideas. Instead, I got a roommate who didn’t get anything I said. I felt frustrated when I tried to talk with her. Later, I laughed when I remembered my prayer. God had answered my prayer, but not in the way I’d imagined. He was teaching me to patiently listen and express myself in ways that didn’t come naturally.
Do you keep a prayer list? Consider the prayers that seem to have gone unanswered. Could it be they came wrapped in a blue bow when you expected pink? James 1:17 (NIV) says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.”
Remembering God gives good gifts helps us look for the good. Like an Easter egg hunt, the treasure may be hidden, but we know it is there.
Make a list of some of the “gifts” you’re disappointed in. These may include experiences, personality traits, and people in your life. God already knows your thoughts, so be honest. Ask Him to open your eyes to see them from His perspective. How could His answer be better than what you’d imagined?
Question: Have you ever not realized how good something was until after it was gone?
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Debbie W. Wilson
Linking to #Livefree Thursdays
Love the story about your son – as a parent who couldn’t relate to that? And you are so right, so many of the unanswered prayers are just gifts with a different colored bow we haven’t fully appreciated.
Debbie Wilson says
Ann, I think being a parent helps us better understand what we put our heavenly Father through. Thanks for taking time to comment.
Dan Miller says
Debbie – oh I love how you frame this. So very true. God’s best gifts often in unexpected wrappings.
Debbie Wilson says
Dan, I’m sure I overlooked many for that very reason. How fun it is when I do finally recognize the gift in what first appeared to me to be a disappointment.
Joanne Miller says
Debbie, What an incredible analogy. And you are so right on. The longer I live the more I can see how often His Plan turned out much better than what I had originally planned for myself…..and, in actuality my prayers WERE answered…but definitely not how I envisioned them. Loved this blog!
Debbie Wilson says
Thank you, Joanne. It is fun when we can look back and marvel at how His plan was so much better. It helps me to trust Him with what I can’t yet see and know one day it too will fall into that category.