By: Vivian Wilson
I did something this morning that thrills my heart. I bought something for someone. These are the reasons for my joyful anticipation.
1. This person is not related to me. In fact I spend less than an hour a week with her. We never talk on the phone or meet for coffee.
2. It is not for any special occasion.
3. It is totally unexpected.
4. I know that she will treasure it, because it is something in which she places great value.
5. She will use it every day.
6. It is something she would probably never purchase for herself.
These are the reasons that I especially chose this gift for her.
What I am finding is that my joy in giving it may far exceed her joy in receiving it though I expect I’ll see tears of joy when I give it to her.
I tell you this because it made me think. It made me remember. I thought about how the manifestations of God’s grace toward me is like this.
He chooses them especially for me when I least expect them.
They are memories of great value that I truly treasure.
I never ask for them, but joyfully receive them with humility and gratitude.
I remember three of these special gifts specifically. These three gifts of God’s grace given to me the very real POWER, PEACE, and PRESENCE of my Heavenly Father directed to me; His full, undivided attention lavished on me, His beloved child.
The first gift, reminding me of His power, happened thirty years ago. As I lay in my hammock under a huge native pecan tree in my yard, I gazed into the night sky. There were no clouds or lights to obscure or dim my view of millions of stars in the vastness of space. As I prayed and worshiped the Creator and Sovereign Ruler of this vast universe, I was humbled as I pondered how small and insignificant man is. In awe of Him, I began to say to Him, “You are so great and powerful; with your very word You can hurl one of these stars across the heavens”. I was halfway through my sentence when before my eyes a star streaked across the dark sky. I remember the joy that filled my heart because I knew that this Powerful God, who created everything, heard me and wanted to show me that He hears me.
The second gift represented His peace. This gift of grace was given to me last August while I was on a vacation that was anything but restful. None of my plans had worked out. I was not happy, complaining, and feeling alone.
To say I was not content is an understatement. However, God was working on my attitude the entire week. By the end of the week my attitude had changed. After a week of quality time with God I was grateful. As I was enjoying my last full day on the beach I waded out into the water which was very calm until I was in neck deep. I was facing the shore, having a last look at the activity on the beach.
I turned around to look out toward the horizon and was startled when I saw, almost within arms length from me, a huge creature staring at me. (According to a guy who was about fifty yards from me, he had been “checking me out” for a while). It was a manatee. He was magnificent! I didn’t even know what a manatee was, much less anything about them.
When I googled it I learned that they are considered to be the most peaceful of sea creatures. God gave me a visual of the peace that is mine in Christ; the peace that transformed my discontent to contentment that week.
The last gift was given a couple of months later in October. It is a gift to remind me that He is always present, even in the mundane, seemingly insignificant moments of everyday life. I was at a retreat, working in the conference room as we served thirty-five women hoping for spiritual blessing. I looked outside and saw two of these women and two workers searching the grassy area for something. I went out to them and learned that one of the ladies had lost a gold loop earring.
After searching for several more minutes the two ladies went back in the the conference room and the workers left to search the last place she had been. I told them I would continue to look for the earring.
After several more loops of the area, I stopped. I prayed. I told God that this earring was important to this lady. (Like He didn’t know)! I said, “I don’t know where it is. You know where it is. It is impossible for me to find it in this grass and leaves. So when I find it I will know it is You who showed me”. I took one step, looked down, and there under a leaf I saw half of a gold earring. He showed me that He was present in that moment, caring and compassionate.
When I take the time to think and to remember God’s personal, unexpected gifts of grace, designed especially for me, and given to me with love, I am filled with great joy and gratitude once again. It causes my heart to sing songs of praise and worship to the lover of my soul.
I AM CONVINCED THAT HIS JOY IN GIVING IS GREATER THAN MY JOY IN RECEIVING.
I hope this will encourage you to take time to remember the special gifts of grace that God has given you so that you will be filled with joy and be inspired to praise and worship the Lover of your soul.
A work in progress,