Life flies by me so quickly that every day seems the same.  But every now and then one of those moments transpire that stops everything and hits you right in the face and burrows deeply into your soul.

We had a wonderful time at the Yellow House  Hotel for my daughter Abigail’s rehearsal dinner.  After the meal, Mike and Abbie began handing out gifts to the wedding party.  The first gift went to the flower girl – a colorful bag almost as big as she was, full of “princess” gifts that delighted her soul.  Next came the gift for my little son, Sam, the ring-bearer.

He has been in a few weddings now, so he knew there was a gift coming for him.  I could see the anticipation on Sam’s face.  I could remember the excitement of receiving gifts when I was a boy; how wonderful those surprises were!  One of the little joys of life…

In the months preceding the wedding, Mike and Abbie had teased Sam that they were just going to get him a pair of new underwear.  But on this evening I think that was the farthest thing from Sam’s mind.  When Mike brought out a little bag less than six inches high, Sam gently set it down and gingerly unfolded the tissue paper.  The first gift was a little plastic ball about the size of a gumball with a little plastic squirrel in it – something that came from a gumball machine.  Sam looked at it slightly perplexed, set it aside and then pulled aside more tissue paper.  He began to pull at the next gift; it was a small item of clothing.  He unfolded it – it was a little pair of underwear with doggie bones and fire hydrants on it!  He looked at it, still somewhat perplexed.  And then he went back into the bag, pulling the remaining tissue paper out, looking carefully through it for anything more.  There was nothing.

I watched his little face.  You could see the disappointment creeping over his face.  You could see his wheels turning.  And then suddenly, without any instruction or comment, Sam walked over, threw his arms around Mike’s waist, and said in the sweetest voice, “Thank you SO MUCH for my gift, Mike!”  And then he hugged Abbie and thanked her, and he walked back over to me, where his little bag was waiting.  He took the underwear, looked at it appreciatively, and smiled at me as he folded it neatly and put it back in the tiny bag.

I could hardly keep back the tears.  I can hardly keep them back now as I type this story.  I will never forget that moment of a little boy’s true giving of thanks as long as I live.  It was one of the proudest moments of my life but my heart couldn’t take prolonging that moment any longer than was necessary.  I asked Sam if he thought Mike and Abbie were just teasing him.  He shrugged that he wasn’t sure.  I asked him if he liked his gift, and he nodded that he did.

At that moment Mike produced a big silver box and presented it to Sam.  You could see the joy flood back into Sam’s face.  He pulled the lid off the box and tore eagerly through the tissue paper and when he found within the box the type of gifts that he was hoping for, he squealed with joy his deeply heartfelt thanks to Mike and Abbie.  And as I watched him receive the good gift, my own heart rejoiced, perhaps more than Sam’s, because I understood even more than Sam did the truly wonderful and good thing that had just taken place.

I don’t think that our heavenly Father plays practical jokes on us, but I do think that sometimes He gives us gifts that are far less than we want or expect.  He knows His reasons.  But He also knows that one day we’ll understand – and He’ll hand us our own “big silver box” that contains things that our eyes had never seen and our ears had never heard, things that had never entered into our imagination as remotely possible, things above all that we could ask or think.

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