“I don’t want anything else for Christmas this year” I told my parents that 7th grade year. I’d asked for a dog as long as I could remember, but this year it was going to be different. Everyone who knew me knew I wanted a dog for Christmas because that’s all I talked about. I knew my dad didn’t want us to have a dog, but I figured if I asked enough times in enough different ways and told enough people, surely it could happen.
I barely slept the Christmas Eve night in anticipation of what was to come. When my sister and I woke up to my mom & dad telling us there was something outside for us, I can remember each step like it was yesterday. My mom assured us to not get too excited. She said she didn’t know what was going on. I figured it was “Santa’s” job. It was like one of the slow motion movie moments as I took each step to our downstairs garage and walked out in the crisp cold morning air that 7th grade Christmas morning to our front driveway. I saw a closed box, a perfect size for my great Christmas wish.
The box was labeled “To Stephanie and Chrissy (both my sister and my names spelled wrong) from Santa.” I could tell it wasn’t my parents writing, and they wouldn’t spell our names wrong. I slowly opened the box, all the years of begging, asking, dreaming, wishing anticipating all flooding my emotions. I could tell there was something living in there. And as the box opened I saw something furry, my heart was pounding outside my chest, I think I’d been holding my breath for a while. And then I saw it…
Someone’s old, big, pet, rabbit. Wamp Wamp.
I already had a bunny that I thought to be much smaller, cuter and sweeter. I mustered up my best acting job and thanked my parents for the gift. They assured me it wasn’t from them (and it wasn’t). Each gift that year that I opened I held onto some shred of hope a dog could have been in there. That maybe it would have been the last one behind the tree, or maybe it would come from upstairs, or downstairs. But it didn’t happen then, it never happened.
And honestly. I doubted God’s love for me, I doubted my parents love for me. Can you relate?
The last book of the Old Testament, God’s last words before the coming of Christ.
Israel doubts God’s Love too. “I have loved you,” says the LORD. “But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’” -Malachi 1:2
Have you ever asked this question to God? Oftentimes our circumstances of life which seem to be very difficult or disappointing make us question God’s love.
But I know I’ve come to think of love in one way because of how it’s portrayed in media, but God’s definition of love is very different. I good parent disciplines their child. They say no to things their child really wants if it is ultimately for their best. When a child runs out on the street, or wants to play there, the parent says NO! The parent is disciplining now out of love to avoid a tragedy in the future.
And honestly that’s why I think my parents never caved for a dog. They knew how very sensitive my heart was, and they were avoiding the pain my young heart wouldn’t have been able to handle when the dog would die.
Good parents who know how to love well care more about their children character and are willing to say no and disciple so that their child faces less pain in the future. And it’s the same with God.
Maybe you did or didn’t have parents who knew how to love you the right way. No parent or person is perfect except one. God is our perfect father, even when we can’t see it.
After the book of Malachi in the Bible comes the New Testament. The Gospel declares of a baby being born to save the world. God in flesh came to save us. The perfect example of love. Being totally incapable of saving ourselves from the disasters of this world, God humbled Himself and made Himself a servant of all. The king of the Universe came to the world that had rejected Him to die for us.
I’m not sure of your reasons for previously or currently questioning God’s love for you. I know some of mine. But I want to reassure my heart today and yours, that He does love you, with a deeper love beyond what we could fathom. He has a purpose beyond our understanding.
Oh and that dog I was waiting for, I now just got one for Christmas. And God’s timing is always perfect. And that thing on your heart and the other things on mine, I’m praying you/me will have peace knowing there’s reason beyond our understanding. Protection and love more than we can currently imagine.
What do you think? Love to hear from you?