The Gift Beneath the Wrapping

Yesterday morning as the children in our church and I were all walking out of the auditorium to go to Junior Church, our pastor stopped us and asked the children an interesting question.

“Do you like surprises—gifts—to be wrapped and done up all fancy, or would you rather just have them handed to you?” he said.

The children were a little surprised at first, and, to be honest, I was wondering if they would now be expecting a surprise when we got to class. I held my breath, waiting to see how this would all unfold. Eventually, most of the children said they would like to have their surprises wrapped up because it’s fun to unwrap the gift.

Pastor seemed satisfied with their answer, and I was relieved when he said, “I don’t think there are any surprises downstairs. I was just curious to see if kids still feel the same way I did as a kid.”

With that said, we all went downstairs and had our lesson, giving the conversation no further thought…until last night.

After Sunday night’s Christmas program, Pastor preached on seven gifts. As he began his message, he talked about wrapping gifts and how, in just a matter of moments, the hours spent on wrapping would be in a heap under the tree. This caught my attention because I love wrapping presents in a way that makes them special for each person. I love putting that little extra touch on it that makes it just perfect. But, as pastor said, the paper all gets ripped away because what we’re really interested in is the gift, not the wrapping.

That got me to thinking. Often in life, we’re handed gifts that come in packages that just really aren’t that appealing. Instead of the wrapping of success, joy, peace, comfort, and love we find ourselves being handed a gift wrapped in failure, loss, persecution, hate, or sorrow. No one wants a package like that. We did not expect or plan those things for our lives, but suddenly there they are. In that moment we have a choice. We can choose to stare at the wrapping and despise what has been handed to us, or we can tear back the paper and look inside to find the gift.

As I look back on 2015, I see some amazingly beautiful gifts, but I also see some very ugly packages. If I were walking through a store choosing packages to place under my tree, I would choose none of those ugly ones. They are wrapped in hurt, tied together with accusation, and ornamented with bows of betrayal, rejection, and failure. But if I walked by them, I would be missing gifts of grace, mercy, comfort, strength, and even hope.

Earlier this year, one of those packages left me feeling worthless. I felt that my whole life had been brought to ruins because of one devastating moment. As I drove down the road a day or two later, tears slipped down my cheeks, and I poured out my heart to the Lord. In those moments, that still small voice whispered into my pain, “You are still my daughter.”

Think of that! What a precious thought! Still His. Not worthless. Not rejected. Not forsaken. —LOVED!

Without the pain of loss, rejection, and false accusation, I would not have experienced God’s amazing love to the extent that I saw it along the road that day. Without the hurt of betrayal, I would not have discovered new depths of the peace of acceptance in the Beloved.

We easily forget that beneath the ugly wrapping is a pearl of great price. We forget that the greatest gift ever given was wrapped in a crown of thorns. So let me challenge you, before the year is out, take the time to look back, find the ugly packages, tear the wrapping aside, and find the gift within.

Remember that you are still the King’s daughter (or son). He has purchased you, adopted you, and given you a second birth. You are His three times over, and He will not let you go. He will run after you as no father ever pursued his child because God loves you more than any earthly parent has ever loved. He knows how to give us good gifts, so, go on—find the gift beneath the wrapping.

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King's Daughter: A Story of Redemption

King’s Daughter: A Story of Redemption

ABOUT RACHEL MILLER

I am the author of three books, including The King’s Daughter: A Story of Redemption. You can check them all out here. I also run a Christian editing and writing service. I hope you’ll stop by and let me know how I can help you.

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Cherries, Sprint Cars, and Geysers

I woke up this morning feeling exhausted and a deep need to know God’s love in a very tender and personal way. As I lay in bed praying, I told Him of my weariness and asked Him to somehow help me to feel His embrace. When I finally got up, I went to the kitchen to put on the teapot and my dad, who was in the living room, said, “Look at your place at the table.”

This is what I saw:

Beautiful Rainier Cherries!

Beautiful Rainier Cherries!

Monday night a friend called, and, as is my habit, I wandered out to the front room to check out the sunset while I was talking to her. It was beautiful. So I grabbed my camera and went outside to snap a few pics while we were talking.

Beautiful Montana Sky

Beautiful Montana Sky

In the process I noticed that, once again, our neighbor’s irrigation system had a problem. Since nightfall was coming quickly, my friend and I agreed that I should get off the phone and give him a call, which I did. The conversation wasn’t long, it was just enough for me to tell him that Old Faithful had moved into his field. A few minutes later I saw the headlights of his pickup lighting up the geyser. The system went off, and then it was back on again and all was well.

The new Old Faithful

The new Old Faithful

But this morning when my dad went outside to check on something, he found that our neighbor had left a bag of cherries sitting on the car.

No one knew what I had prayed, but God had answered. I knew the cherries were from the Lord just as much as they were from our neighbor.

I finished making my tea and went to the porch swing for my quiet time. I opened my Bible to Psalm 28 and began to read:

“Unto thee will I cry, O Lord my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pits.”

I had to laugh when I read that verse. First of all, it summed up exactly what I had done this morning. Secondly, I spent a large amount of time yesterday working on a blog post, which I may never post, about a sprint car driver who had to pit before the race even started! Even though I know these pits are two very different kinds, I couldn’t help but see the connection. You see if a driver goes to the pits and stays there, he is done. The race is over for him. Here David is asking the Lord to speak to him, lest he end up in the same state as that driver. He’s asking for the strength to keep running the race.

Verse two says:

“Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift my hands toward thy holy oracle.”

Again I smiled. I knew the Lord had done for me exactly what David had requested for himself, but the Lord went on to confirm it further in verses 6-8.

IMG_3713

I have been trying to create and post a new meme for “The King’s Daughter” each week over the past couple of weeks. They are composed of pictures that I have taken and quotes from the book. Last week, I found the quote that I wanted to use, but didn’t have a chance to look for a picture. I was a little disappointed, but now I see that maybe it was because God wanted all of this to happen first. So here it is:

His Presence

This morning I awoke knowing that I was safe in my King, but needing the comfort of His presence. As I stepped into that presence through prayer and His Word, I was blessed with joy such as only He can give. The songwriter said, “Are you weary, are you heavy-hearted? Tell it to Jesus.” Jesus is waiting. Walk in His presence, you will never regret it!

How has God been showing you His presence in your life?

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King's Daughter: A Story of Redemption

King’s Daughter: A Story of Redemption

 

ABOUT RACHEL MILLER

I am the author of three books, including The King’s Daughter: A Story of Redemption. You can check them all out here. I also run a Christian editing and writing service. Check it out and let me know how I can help you.