God is such a GUY!
I have spent much of my life on the day or so before Christmas doing Dad’s wrapping. I don’t know if he shops at the last minute, or just realizes that things aren’t yet wrapped at the last minute, but in either case, I’ve come to expect the last minute, “Hey Stacey, I need you to wrap this for me.” Why? Because, generally speaking, guys can’t wrap.
That’s how I know God’s a guy. He’s SUCH a guy. Because, oh my goodness, have you noticed how He wraps things?
I love opening my mom’s presents. I love just looking at mom’s presents. They are works of art. No matter what’s inside, they are beautiful on the outside. Beautiful, high quality sparkling paper with exquisite ribbons tied in bows to make a florist jealous. It’s extravagant and beautiful just to see the piles of packages under the tree, most of which are adorned with extra gifts on top. The wrapping feels as much a gift as the actual gift inside.
That’s when mom wraps. When any of the men in our house wrap, however, it’s a different story. There is no gift in the wrapping. The gift is the gift. And you have to look past the wrapping, to be willing to see what’s inside. You have to open it despite how it’s packaged, trusting something good is inside.
Now, I’ll tell you, my Dad’s wrapping may not be great, but his gifts are. As much as I love my mom’s beautiful wrapping, I equally don’t care at all about my Dad’s. Who cares how it’s wrapped? I know there’s something wonderful inside. The packaging is inconsequential.
Well, I do believe God is an artist and has wrapped some things on this earth with beautiful care. He did, after all, wrap His promise to Noah with a rainbow. That’s hard to beat. He wraps each day with a sunrise and a sunset. So, I’m not totally ragging on God and His wrapping skills, BUT... For the most part, God wraps most stuff like a guy...terribly.
Take geodes, for example—those horrible little rocky things that are ugly on the outside. There’s nothing of note about them. Nothing to draw you to them. And when you hear there’s something inside, you risk scratching your knuckles raw on them trying to get them open. They’re hard and rough and ugly, but they contain a beautiful treasure—one that you only get if you’re willing to look past the wrapping. The Bible says there’s nothing about Jesus’ appearance that would draw you to Him. He wasn’t the “gift” anyone was expecting in the Savior. He didn’t come to reign, but to die. That’s a really unattractive package when you are hoping for a political coup. Butterflies come from caterpillars. We learn patience through suffering. We learn strength through struggle. We learn trust through times of uncertainty. We learn that He is healer through sickness, Provider through need. We learn that He is with us when we are alone. Do I need to go on?
Most of God’s best gifts come in the worst packaging. Packages we don’t want to open. Packages that are hard and rough and ugly on the outside, and painful to open. But, if we are willing to look past the packaging, if we are willing to trust that anything that comes through His hands to us, anything He permits into our lives, is a geode of sorts, a beautiful gift wrapped by a guy—a God guy who loves us—if we are willing to treasure those gifts and take the time to open them, we will find a treasure inside. Every. Time.
I don’t know why God so often hides his best gifts in the worst packaging, knowing He could hide them in things like sunsets and rainbows. I suspect, however, that it has something to do with wanting to develop in us a sense of love and trust. For my Dad, bad packaging is a matter of ineptitude (sorry, Dad!) and value—he doesn’t value the wrapping, only what’s inside. For the Lord, that “bad packaging” is just like my mom’s beautiful packaging...it’s part of the gift itself. He is not inept nor does he consider the packaging inconsequential. Everything has meaning. Make no mistake, the packaging, even the really bad, ugly packaging, is tailor made for us. It, too, is a gift. To teach us to seek Him. To teach us His heart. To help us look beyond the things of this world and to see the next.