As a father of 3 children, I have had the privilege of surprising my children many times over the years with a gift that they did not expect. These moments often come during the holidays and their birthdays, however, from time to time, we get to surprise the kids on a day that they would have never expected it.
One such time that this happened was late last year. Because we had officially moved to Texas, our little ones were saddened that they would not see their Guatemalan friends or family for a long time. At the same time, the boyfriend of my sister in law had been planning with my wife how he was going to propose to her sister, when an idea popped into my head. Being that the relationship between my wife and her sister was extremely important, I decided that it would be worth our while to try and surprise everyone by arriving at the engagement party to celebrate with them.
With this idea in mind, I began checking airline prices and discovered that there was a small window available at a great price that we could travel to Guatemala and not only surprise the newly engaged couple, but also give the kids a few days to connect with their friends and family. I prayed for a few minutes and then informed my wife of my idea. The look on her face said it all as I could see the joy of the Lord fall upon her as she realized that she will get to be there for her sister as she longed to be. We then informed the kids of this decision and their eyes lit up like a Christmas tree! They were so happy and excited that my youngest even began packing her backpack with toys to bring!
Seeing the reaction of my wife and kids filled my heart in a way that I will never forget. Though they had been longing for an opportunity to go to Guatemala and be there for the engagement (and to see friends, of course), they never imagined that it would ever happen. That day I got to be a father who lavished his family with a great gift and I will forever get to cherish that moment.
This story reminds me of another story in the Bible when Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray. In Luke 11:11-13, Jesus says “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” In Matthew 7:11, in reference to the same story, Jesus said “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
A few weeks ago I was praying about these portions of scripture and pondering what Jesus was really getting at. Was He really saying that the Father would give any gift that we ask of Him? Many times when we hear that scripture mentioned in church, that is exactly what we hear. However, the more I prayed, the more I realized that Jesus was not just saying any gift, rather, He had something way better in mind.
Taking a moment to read in Luke 11 again. I find it interesting that Luke did not use the term “gift,” rather, he used the term “Holy Spirit.” I think this very significant, but even more significant when we think that Matthew did use the term “gift”. As I prayed, I saw something I had never seen before.
In 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, Pauls writes “To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.”
Could this be what Jesus was actually talking about when He was teaching on prayer? Each time we pray, we are almost certain to come to Him with a different need. Each of these needs require something different to help us get through it and here we can see how the Father reaches into His deep pocket and help us uniquely in our time of need!
There will be times when we need wisdom on a difficult decision and He responds with the gift of wisdom. There is another time when we are struggling to understand a difficult situation and He gives us the gift of knowledge. Or how about when we need strength to make it through a difficult day? He gives us miraculous power / strength. Whatever it is that we need at the moment, it seems that there is always a gift of the Holy Spirit available to help us in our time of need!
The best part about this is the joy it brings the Father to bestow such incredible gifts upon us when we are in our time of need! Just as I was filled to the fullest when I saw how my children reacted to our surprise trip to Guatemala, the Father is filled even more when He is able to pour out on us His incredible gifts!
As I close this blog post, I want to encourage you to take a moment to pause and open your eyes to see how He is showering you with His unique gifts in your everyday life! Take note of the satisfaction and joy it brings the Father and give Him thanks each and every day.