Friday, February 25, 2011

Where My Hope Lies

When I was five, my parents arranged a surprise birthday party for me. I couldn’t have been happier as I walked into the house to hear a living room full of friends shouting “SURPRISE!” and cheering. I was having the time of my life. That was until we got to the games.

In one of the games, each girl was to pick and pull one of a bunch of long strings. Each string was tied to a gift hidden around the corner in another room. The excitement grew as each girl pulled her string and a wonderful prize appeared from around the corner. Then it happened. At the end of one of my friend’s strings was the doll that I told everyone I wanted for my birthday. How could she? That was supposed to be my doll and she stole it! I burst into tears. My mother tried her best to console me but nothing would make up for that girl walking around with the present that was supposed to be mine. Are you laughing at me yet? I am!

Then my mother pulled me aside and told me that the present that she and Daddy got for me was a bigger version of that doll with all of the clothes and accessories a five-year-old could want. At the news, my happiness returned and the party was a big success.

As I look back on this moment, I can’t help but feel that my childish greed cheated me out of a greater degree of joy in the celebration. The surprise of opening the gift of the bigger doll (a mere token of my parents love) was lost. Decades later, the joy of that moment in my life and the memory of it are still tainted by my selfishness.

I hope to always remember this when faced with a disappointing situation in life. Maybe I won’t get something I’m hoping for or perhaps I’m unable to accomplish something I really wanted to do or I lose something dear to me. I need to remember that, from my limited perspective, I can never see the whole picture – but God can. He knows what he has planned for me and how and when it is to unfold in my life. I need to trust that he knows my desires and what I need and that the plans he has for me are nothing less than the fulfillment of his great love for me.

When dealing with those unrealized desires, I must choose to not despair over that something of value lost. I must choose to let go of the wants and needs I didn’t get, and grab hold of the truth that I just don’t know what God knows. Even when a bigger payoff (a bigger doll with all the stuff) doesn’t come, I don’t have to be disappointed. If I remember that my hope is not in the things and accomplishments in my life, but in God – then how can I be disappointed? My hope is never wasted or lost or unfulfilled when it is placed in God.

About the pictures:
Phipps Conservatory (May 2009)

1 comment:

Audrey said...

What a wonderful post! I believe that all of us has a story of a time in our past when we responded selfishly. But, we were children and we were acting like children. The challenge now as Christian adults is to respond to situations with maturity. Being the human that I am, I am thankful for God's grace that loves me even when I still act like a child!