Almost 40 years ago a gift was created. The present lay wrapped and waiting to be given. It was taken out of its hiding place and examined from time to time. Was the gift adequate? Were there other touches that could make it more palatable? Would there be a way to present it? Perhaps a different recipient than the one originally planned? Maybe the gift was only an item to be remembered from the past, and not a true present to share.
And then one day, a group heard about the present. “Let us see this gift!” they cried. The gift was polished once again. It was changed to be more acceptable for the group. Indeed they clamored after it, and the gift won a prize. The recipient for the gift seemed to have been found, 15 years after its creation. And then the path was cut off. Suddenly, and without argument, the present was laid to rest again.
More years, and another recipient cried out to receive the gift. More polishing, enhancing the original gift. Intimate carvings into the gift were offered this time. The gift-creators poured themselves even into the giving again.
But Words were hurled back at the giving. Not only did the recipient refuse the gift–it was thrust back with cutting and piercing.
So the creators covered the gift in grave-cloths, laid it to rest. Heart thoughts were clutched inwardly, giving proof to personal accusations long clung to. Perhaps the recipients were right. The gift was naive, incomplete, without substance.
Perhaps the creators were naive, incomplete, without substance.
But the mercy of the High Creator was poured over the creators. His love could not be contained, and the cruel words could not hold final sway.
The truth of HIS love for His own creation had also been attacked. The enemy of that love had tried to hurl cruel words over God’s people. But His mercy made a way for love to be received. His own Son made the way open for His people to see how loved they were and how each one had been created for such a wonderful purpose.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.Psalm 139:14 NIV
Finally, the conviction of a love so deep flowed over the creators of the gift. They saw how it had never been theirs to hold onto or to choose who should receive it. The High Creator called them to let go and to release the gift to whoever would receive it.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—John 1:12 NIV
And this is why the story at the beginning of this post is now available. It is a book that my husband wrote and I first illustrated so many years ago. The book was taken out, and revised, and polished many times over the intervening years. Sometimes it was received well, but other times it was rejected and returned. One time it was rejected with personal words that echoed every dark thought we had harbored in the deepest places of our own doubts.
Several weeks ago, something began stirring in my soul, and I heard the Lord asking me to pray about sharing the book as a read-aloud gift for our Grandchildren. It was such a joy for us to offer the book to them. My husband and I sent our love through the air-waves to the ones our hearts longed for.
After we shared the story, the next morning I heard the words, “Release it, set it free.” And I knew that voice. The Great Creator was asking me to open my hands even more. So we shared it with our Facebook and Instagram friends. The views mounted up quickly. I wondered if this was the final release that God had been after all along.
But into the midst of that releasing, I found myself facing my greatest fear. I had made an awkward mistake, and the thumbnail on our You-tube video for children had zoomed in to what appeared to be an inappropriate creation. How could I have allowed that to happen?
My mistakes loomed over me. My weaknesses cried out yet again. In this place of fibro-fog, and autoimmune diseases, I heard the old accusations ramping up.
- You have no right to be here!
- You have no place in this community!
- You should be quiet, you will only make more mistakes!
While the taunts cut sharply, suddenly I felt the Great Creator looking deeply into my eyes, as the voice of HIS own Words echoed more loudly than the words of the accuser. God alone is my righteousness. He has called forth His gifts of beauty, and He will not be stopped. His purposes for His children will prevail.
So our original You-tube video was deleted, and a new one has been posted. It is not about views, or likes, or clicks. It has never been about the recipients that we choose. NO, it is for the recipients that the GREAT CREATOR chooses. He has beauty for each giver, each gift.
Beginning this week, I am hoping to continue this series, with a group of posts containing gifts that the Lord has worked in our hearts over the years. They were intimate gifts, given straight to our hearts, and only shared as God led us to give them. It was His mercy, that led us step-by-step, in every beautiful acceptance, and in every harsh refusal.
Even the refusals caused us to lay our hearts before our Creator, asking Him to uncover what still needed to be transformed in our souls. After all, while we were creating gifts, He was creating our hearts anew.
We are His creation, for His good purposes, being called into fellowship with Him.
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.Revelation 22:17 NIV
Is there a gift tucked away deep inside of your heart? Have you wrapped that gift with grave-cloths and left it to lie?
Jesus has a time and a place for dying, and a time and a place for resurrecting.
He will stir to life what we thought long dead.
Would you pray with me today?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for the love and mercy that You have showered upon us. We have a hard time grasping how deep is your love. In fact, we are mostly content to live in the shallows, and clutch the doubts that float on the surface there. Would You forgive us for clutching our own thoughts? We long to know Your love more surely. We look upon the gifts that You have yet granted to us, in spite of our wandering hearts, and we are so humbled. The conviction runs square into our hearts when we realize that our hands have been tightly clutching those gifts alongside our doubts. We hear Your voice calling the words “Release!” and we ask for Your help to open our hands now. Set those gifts free that have stayed locked inside of us. Let them fly with Your love to hearts that are so hungry today. Call us all into Your own heart, into Your own love, into Your own mercy.
In the name of Your son, Jesus, we pray,