When Pastor Eric asked me if I would like to participate in sharing God's word on this blog I agreed with not a little trepidation. I had no idea what to say.
I have struggled with what to write and what might be of interest to someone reading what I have to share. This morning I remembered a short story that I read a few years ago in a book by one of my favorite authors. Debbie Macomber has been a source of inspiration to me on several occasions and the following has stuck with me ever since I read it.
A woman arrived at the gates of heaven to be met by St. Peter. "You may first want to join the others at the throne, " he said to her "and then greet those you loved on earth. But when you are ready, I'll take you on a tour of heaven."
When the time came for her tour, she could hardly take it all in. It reminded her a little of her earthly home, but she could see that earth had only been a pale shadow of what she was seeing now. They explored every nook and cranny of heaven - waterfalls, fields of flowers, exquisite buildings, and streets of gold.
As the tour drew to an end, she noticed one massive door they had not yet explored. A gold padlock secured it. "What's in that room?" she asked.
"You don't want to see that room," St. Peter said, steering her away from it. "It's only a store room."
"But I do. May I see inside? I want to see every bit of heaven."
St.Peter didn't answer. Instead he took a large key out of his pocket, put it in the lock, and turned it. The tumblers clicked and the padlock opened.He took the lock off and opened the door. The woman had to blink several times to take it all in. Inside the cavernous room were stacks and stacks of gifts, wrapped in all the colors of the rainbow and tied with all the colors of heaven. She clapped her hands with delight. "Is this where you store presents for everyone in heaven?"
"No. These gifts are not for heaven, they were meant for earth."
What do you mean 'were'? She walked through the stacks and came to a pile marked with her name. "Look, these gifts are for me." She fingered the paper and ribbons. "May I open them?"
"No. You don't need them now." St.Peter put a hand on her shoulder, guiding her toward the door.
"But if I don need them now, does that mean I needed them on earth?" She couldn't take her eyes off the pile. To think she would never get to enjoy all those beautifully wrapped gifts.
He nodded his head. "Yes, you needed them on earth."
She looked around the room, realizing that there must have been millions of gifts. Maybe more, since she couldn't see an end to the room. "Why weren't my gifts sent to me on earth?" As she looked closer, she could read names on all the gifts. "Not just my gifts; why haven't any of these gifts been sent?"
St. Peter sighed. "You don't understand. Every one of them was sent." Moving his arm in an arc that encompassed the whole room, he said, "All of these and more. These are the ones that were returned unopened." He moved her toward the door. "Many people on earth don't recognize God's gifts and fail to open them."
In real life God's presents don't always come gaily gift wrapped, and they are not always easily recognized. When we do recognize His gifts we are never disappointed, even if that gift presents itself as a challenge. I hope one day God will need a smaller store room as more and more of us will recognize His gifts and open them. Don't let your next "present" be sent back un-opened.
God Bless You. Marge