His eyes twinkled as he hid a surprise behind his back. You could feel his excitement when he announced- “I have a present for you! “ he handed me the bag and watched as I pulled each item out. A ruler, some pencils, his mom’s best pair of scissors, a brand new tube of toothpaste and a folded up piece of sandpaper. I exclaimed over each thing, and then explained to him that mama might need her scissors and she would be looking for that toothpaste later. He agreed to put everything back, except the sand paper. He handed it to me with a smile and said “in case you want to make something”.
We played for a while and then, when I knew he wasn’t looking, I tucked that sand paper far behind some of my daughter’s things on the kitchen counter. I would tell her later that it was there. As I opened the front door to leave, he came running around the corner. “Grandma you forgot this!” he said, and proudly handed me that sand paper. HOW had he found it??? He wasn’t even in the same room when I hid it!!! I couldn’t stop laughing when I got home and told my husband the story.
So often I believe we see the love of God through the lens of our human hearts. We gage the goodness of God on the big picture of our lives. If things aren’t going the way we would like, we tend to feel miserable and defeated. We complain and become ungrateful. We miss the abundance of small gifts tucked away in our lives. Gifts that God has already given to us. We miss the tremendous love God has poured into every single thing we have been so blessed to receive. In our eyes that small piece of sandpaper is worthless and we disregard it.
Or, we look at our own heart and what we have to offer the Lord and often feel just like that piece of sandpaper. We see the talents and possessions of others and wish for what they have. We tend to think we have nothing to offer God because we compare ourselves to others. If only we could give God that shiny pair of special scissors or the brand new tube of toothpaste. But those gifts belong to someone else. They aren’t ours to give. And then we look down at ourselves and think we are worthless, just like that piece of sandpaper. How could God ever love or use us? Surely He must disregard us.
When Little Gabe came running to me, holding that piece of sandpaper that I had so flippantly disregarded, God opened my eyes. He gave me a glimpse not only into all He has blessed me with that I so easily disregard at times, but also the love He has for me when I humbly come to Him with nothing to offer except myself. You see, I wouldn’t want anything else from my grandchildren. That innocent love they have in the giving is enough to make your heart burst, and I realized that’s exactly the way my Heavenly Father sees me. He doesn’t want fancy, shiny Charisse, He just wants Charisse.
God wants us to come to him like a child. We need to stop looking at what we have to offer through our human lens. God wants us to know that He only wants us, not the gifts and possessions we can give Him. If he has our heart, He has everything.
That piece of sandpaper is lovingly displayed on a stack of bibles in my home. It means so much to me. A little piece of paper filled with love and assurance that God my Father can use any of us if we are willing to give Him ourselves. Don’t look for the shiny and the new and forget all the little pieces of beautiful sandpaper He has already blessed you with, and don’t tuck away what you feel doesn’t measure up in God’s eyes.
Today I will whisper thank you to Jesus for all the blessings He has given me that I so easily disregard in seasons of discontent. I will open my eyes to the love and grace He has so readily poured into my life and I will be grateful. I may not ever know how God can possibly find something in me to be used for His glory but as I give Him all the love in my meager, willing, folded up, sandpaper heart,
with a smile I will say-
“in case you want to make something”.
And I will know that that is all He ever wanted.
I Samuel 16:7