Thursday, January 5, 2012

Good and Perfect Gifts

                   “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
Psalm 37:4 (KJV)

A few years ago, I walked into a local gift shop with Kevin and Zachary.  Almost immediately, my eyes were drawn to a beautiful painting of the inside of what appeared to be a large, old, southern mansion.  There was a young lady standing in front of an open glass door, her back turned, looking out over a pond in the spacious, sprawling back yard.  In her hand was a letter, and because you could not see her face or expression, you were left to imagine what the letter contained.  Maybe news from her beloved or a letter of good-bye…there were countless possibilities.  I called for Kevin to come look at it, and he, too thought it was beautiful.  I was so drawn to the picture, I really had the desire to buy it right then and take it home.  But, the price!  Way out of our budget!  Kevin tried his best to convince me to go ahead and get it….seldom does something catch my eye and capture my heart the way this painting did.  I was tempted and considered it, but finally decided it was an extravagant and unnecessary expense.  So, I stood and admired it for a while, and when Kevin and Zachary were ready, we left.

I thought about it from time to time…especially when we would pass the shop, and I would wonder if they still had it.  It was always something I wished I had, but felt would always be beyond my grasp.  It wasn’t that big of a deal, really, in the grand scheme of things.  I could certainly live without it, but it sure would look beautiful on our bedroom wall! 

One day, Zach and I were driving into the town where the little shop was located, and my mind was far away from the painting.  By that point, I had pretty much accepted the fact that it was not meant to be mine.  Right before we got into the main part of town, I looked ahead and saw a yard sale.  We drove along and as we were passing the sale, you won’t believe what I saw!  The painting!  Propped up against some kind of crate or box…there it was…at the edge of the sale….kind of like God had caused it to be placed out near the road where I couldn’t help but see it as we passed.

I hurriedly turned around, drove back to the sale, and Zachary and I got out of the car.  I expected the worst…but, I finally got the nerve to ask the gentleman how much he wanted for the painting.  I heard the word seven and my heart sunk…I thought he was going to say $75.00!  Then it hit me.  He had said $7.00.  In disbelief, I said, “Seven….dollllllars????”  He nodded his head.  I couldn’t believe my ears!  Seven dollars??  There it was…within my grasp…in its beautiful, gold-colored, victorian-looking frame.  It could be mine…at last!  I hurriedly paid the man, and we were on our way.  I couldn’t wait to finish running our errands, so we could hurry home and hang our new beautiful picture.  I had just the spot for it…on the wall right beside my side of the bed.  This way when I wake up in the morning, I see it first thing. 

I have spent countless moments of time looking at my painting.  It is peaceful and comforting to me, somehow.  There is just something about the grandeur of the mansion, the lovely antique furnishings, the beautiful woodwork and crown molding near the ceilings, and the swans swimming in the pond outside the glass door.  And, of course, the mystery of the lady holding the letter behind her back. 

You know, God cares about the little things in life that make us happy.  I don’t ever remember praying and asking Him for that painting.  I don’t think I would have ever felt “right” doing that.  After all, it wasn’t a need or something I had to have.  I probably didn’t feel worthy to ask God for something that must, to Him, seem so trivial.  Especially, when there are people starving in the world, hurting people everywhere….and here I would be…asking for a painting??  I doubt it.

But, even though I didn’t ask Him for it, He looked down from His throne, and He saw me that day….staring and wishing, then resigning myself to the fact that it would not be mine.  And He strategically placed it in someone’s hands, and someway, somehow, it ended up in a yard sale on the outskirts of town.  And did it just happen that I ended up going to town that day?  I think not.  I believe He just wanted to bless me.  I believe it thrills God to do things like that for us.  James 1:17 (KJV) says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…” 

Did I need the painting?  Well, no.  

Was it a good and perfect gift? 

Absolutely…straight from His hands…to mine.

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