There I was…almost two decades ago…standing in the living room of my family home. Christmas morning. I looked at the presents under the tree out of the corner of my eye. Couldn’t look them head on…too much shame to stare them in the “eyes”. They were there. Presents with my name on them. I didn’t deserve a single one, and I knew it.
How my parents brought themselves to shop for me, them take the time to wrap the presents, curl the ribbon and write my name on them I will never know. I was taking them through the wringer. I was not only burning every bridge between us by my actions…but I was also driving a wedge between them. They took opposing sides of what it meant to love me in those days. One defending me, and the other calling me out. They fought about me, because of me, for me. I knew I was destroying them…but I couldn’t stop.
So there they sat…the undeserved gifts. A pure representation of my parents’ unconditional love for me. I say this not because they bought or gave material gifts….but because their hearts would love me in the way they always had…especially when I didn’t deserve it.
Today…I stand in my living room of my home. On a Monday evening. I gaze around the room, peering up the hall to the bedrooms. Presents with my name on them. A loving husband, an eight-year-old son, and the room of my son abroad that awaits his return. I don’t deserve a single one, and I know it. I am entitled to nothing but misery.
But God fought for me. He defended me, and called me out. He fought because of me, for me. He loved me when I did not love him back. When I did not have the capacity to love Him back. And he waited…patiently…for me to be ready. To cry out for help. To reach out my hand and beg that he grab it. And because He loved me the way he always had, regardless of whether I deserved it, He was there with his hand stretched out to mine. He has rescued me from the pit.
Psalms 103:10-12 tells us
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
When people ask me how I am doing, I often remark in my head, “Better than I deserve.” Every day I live an undeserved life. A life I am not entitled to. A life that is a GIFT from GOD. And the beauty is that because I know it is a gift, and not of my doing, it makes it even easier to appreciate it.
What about you? What gifts do you have that God has taken the time to curl the ribbon and put your name on the box? What gifts do you have that should never have come to fruition? What undeserved gifts do you get to thank God for today?