God’s Wrapping Paper

September 22, 2002

GOD’S WRAPPING PAPER by Ray Pritchard Not long ago I had lunch with a man who said he was trying to “recover from God’s goodness.” That statement is so unusual that it arrests the mind. What did he mean, to “recover” from God’s goodness? We usually speak of “recovering” from sickness or from some tragedy that has befallen us. Why would you want to “recover” from the goodness of the Lord? A few months ago the man (he is in his 40s) suffered a stroke from which he has mostly recovered, except for some occasional memory loss. Then there was a serious financial crisis in his family medical issues, bills to pay, a car that must be replaced, two children in college. He said that someone recommended a doctor who, upon examination of the problem, told him there would be no charge for his services. That good news meant that the money he had saved could be applied to the purchase of a car. So he saved up what he could to purchase a car, perhaps a good used car, by the end of the summer. Lo and behold, a friend came up to him and said, “I want to buy you a new car.” The man was dumbstruck. So he thought to himself, “My wife has always wanted a red convertible.” When he told his benefactor, the response was, “Fine. Go and pick up whatever you want.” So now his wife is driving a brand-new $30,000 red convertible. Later two other people came up to him with gifts to help with college expenses. He was smiling as he told the story and we nodded in agreement, or perhaps amazement would be more like it. But he was not done yet. As an executive officer in his organization, it came to his attention that certain people were engaging in extremely unsavory practices. I don’t know the details except that the things being done could not be ignored. As he began to investigate, those involved in the wrongdoing began to spread salacious rumors about his wife and his children. Evil rumors. Base lies. Accusations without foundation. It must have been a terrible ordeal. There were phone calls and threats against his life. But the man stood his ground and did what he had to do. Things are better now but the last few months have been a roller-coaster ride. Speaking of the rumors and threats, the man said, “At first I didn’t recognize it as a gift because of the paper it was wrapped in. It was easier to recognize the blessing of the new convertible. But now I see the goodness of the Lord in everything that has happened to us.” It is a great advance in the spiritual life to realize that even the worst times of life are but the wrapping paper for God’s hidden blessings. And that’s why my friend is “recovering” from an outpouring of God’s goodness seen in unexpected places.

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