Twenty years ago on Christmas Eve, I got off work, went home, and packed my car for the long drive to my parents’ house, where I would spend Christmas with my family. Brandy, my blonde cocker spaniel, jumped into the front seat. As we were about to drive off, Helen, my elderly upstairs neighbor, stopped us. “Wait! I’ve got something for you.” Surprised and a little embarrassed, I apologized that I didn’t have a gift for her. “I didn’t go out to buy something for you, either,” she said, “but I saw this and thought you might enjoy it.” And she handed me a small package.
It was almost midnight by the time Brandy and I arrived at my parents’ house, but my parents had waited up, and mother had fixed me something to eat. The three of us were talking at the kitchen table, when Brandy came in from the living room with a Christmas gift that she’d found under the tree. She had it in her mouth, and was shaking it from side to side. I started to take it away from her, but my mother said, “Let her have it. It’s hers—from Dad and me.” Brandy tore it open, and inside was a red rubber ball that quickly became her favorite toy.
The next morning, when we exchanged the rest of our Christmas gifts, my sister had gotten me a small ceramic cocker spaniel, which she said reminded her of Brandy. When I finally got around to opening the present from Helen, it turned out to be a small framed picture and quote to hang on my wall or put on my desk. The picture was of a little blonde cocker spaniel, down on her haunches, stalking a red ball, and the quote was a verse from the Bible: Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.—Psalm 37:4.
Now you might think the connection between those three gifts was just an elaborate coincidence, but I believe God engineered it. It was like He was saying, “If I knew what Brandy would like, and if I cared enough to give it to her, don’t you know how much more I care for you? I know your heart’s desires too. This is just a little example of what I want to do for you. When your desire is to please Me, My desire is to please you.”
Darryl Terhune is an Activated reader in the U.S.