A couple of weeks ago, during Wednesday night church activities, I found one of the children sitting in the back of the room away from all the others. Her knees were drawn up and tears streaked her face. I walked over to her, got down on my knees and asked her what was wrong. She gave no response except to cry even harder, sobbing with shoulders heaving.
I asked her to take a little walk with me. We left the room, went to the water fountain and, in a bit, she calmed enough to speak.
During our Wednesday night program, when the children are rewarded for something, they are given some fake money. We refer to them as “bucks.” They can use the bucks later to “buy” toys and other prizes. It is a big deal for the little ones.
Seems that this girl had sixteen, one-dollar bucks; the leaders in her room needed ones, so they gave her a single twenty-dollar buck in exchange. She made four dollars, the leaders gained the needed ones…everyone was happy? Right? Well, no.
She liked the quantity of the ones. She didn’t like working so hard and accumulating one after another, only to watch, helplessly, as all of those bills were taken and replaced by a single buck. She hated seeing all the other kids with double fistfuls of ones and she only with a few bills. She didn’t grasp the quality of the gift given to her.
“But don’t you see? You actually have more now,” I reasoned with her.
She shook her head. Through sobs, she said, “They took more…and then they gave me less.”
She hugged me and cried. I explained that we would work it out, and, after a while, she was assured it was a good thing, even though it didn’t feel like it.
A child’s misunderstanding.
Thoughts of that evening came back to me last night and have hung around all day long. I guess, for me, a few moments from the last three days or so all seemed to point toward a similar sentiment as my young friend held:
“God, have You taken more…and given me less?”
Sure seems that way at times, right?
Shortly after hitching your wagon of thought to that swift horse, you usually find yourself farther down that road than you need to be.
You plow and sweat and toil for your bread, only to watch the lazy, undisciplined, greedy and ungodly enjoy a table of plenty for which they did not work.
You end up bereft of so many things you value, only to be given, what seems like at the time, a consolation prize.
Thanks for playing, better luck next time.
And you know it rains on the just and the unjust, but God, can’t you just dry up their fields a little? A little parching…just a little. Builds character, you know?
Then, before long, we’re at the back of the room, knees drawn up and crying over the injustice of it all.
His child’s misunderstanding.
But I forget…
God is all about exchanging ones for twenties.
He may take away that one-dollar relationship and exchange it for a twenty-dollar connection. It might even be just a nickel of a relationship, and you might be overvaluing it (that happens), but He can give far better still.
That job you lost or that interview you blew may hurt now, but He may have something better in line, just waiting up ahead. There may be a twenty-dollar bill of providence on the horizon.
You know the heat you feel when all your insulation has been stripped down, peeled off, and you face the fires of trial? That heat is not to harm you but to burn away anything that is not of Him.
A one-dollar loss for an infinite gain.
The real danger may not be in losing our ones, but clinging to them and missing the twenty.
He only gives good things.
He only takes what is needed to make us most like Him.
Even when our feelings say otherwise.
Give up your ones.