A Gift in my Mailbox
On the morning of 24th February, I was enjoying my daily Quiet Time when my peace was shattered. Two text messages beeped their way into my phone - one from my cousin Dharshi; the other from my friend’s daughter Suzanne. They both shared the same sad news. My friend Christine had died an hour ago. I put the phone down and wept. I wept at her loss. I wept for her husband and daughter. I wept that my friend died too soon.
Over the next week – all of us who knew Christine continued to grieve for her. I also struggled with feelings of guilt. I wished I’d done more for her. Christine and I shared many phone conversations last year while she was undergoing her cancer treatments. It was a privilege to listen to her and to pray with her. I was so glad I could catch up with her in December at our Mum and Me reunion in Sri Lanka. It was good to have one final long telephone conversation with her before I left back for Australia.
But when I look back now, I ask myself why I didn’t make time for a special visit with Christine. Why didn’t I do something more for her – to bring her a moment of joy? I don’t know the answer to that. The three weeks in Sri Lanka flew – in fact there were many friends I couldn’t connect with at all, simply because time was insufficient. When I did find time to visit Christine during that last week in Sri Lanka – I had developed a cold – not good for a cancer patient so I couldn’t visit her.
I feel sad now that I’d failed her; that I’d not done enough for her when I could. One morning afterwards, I’d been berating myself for not doing more for Christine when my son entered my room bringing in a mysterious parcel. It was from my friend – Penny, all the way from Bolivia NSW; an intriguing parcel. What was it I wondered.
As I opened the cardboard envelope, out tumbled a large gift covered in gorgeous wrapping paper. Inside was a feast of smaller gifts that delighted me. They were labeled perfectly. A little plastic water bottle for my bedside table (how very thoughtful), pretty glitter to paint my toenails with (loved it!), a little reading light to clip on my book (what a bright idea!), pens of all colours to write with (Ooo!), wild gourmet chocolates (mmm!), a special card which lifted my spirits (thank you Penny!). Her creativity and all she’d done to make her gifts just right, made it all the more unique. I was blown away. What an awesome, thoughtful precious GIFT! What a beautiful friend!
As I gazed at all of those gifts, I was enveloped by grace. Not only was it a gift from my friend Pen. It was also a package from God. There was God saying to me ‘It’s OK Anusha – yes, you could have done more for Christine. But it’s OK. My grace covers you all the time - when you do everything right; But also when you don’t do things right. When you listen to me and you obey my voice. But also when you fail and disappoint me. Even when you don’t get it right. I still love you. I love you always. Nothing you can do will make me love you more. Nothing you can do will make me love you less.”
I'm very grateful to my friend Pen for that remarkable gift sent because I was recuperating after my operation. Of course she blessed me deeply. But what I am mostly thankful for is that she had listened to God. Because, you see, God spoke to me very powerfully through her gift. It was as if He were standing there before me, His arms outstretched towards me, His wayward child, ready to wrap me in a warm embrace. I was reminded that God’s Grace is far far bigger than my sins or my mistakes. Sadly, there will be times I just don’t get it right. I stuff up. Hurt others. Make mistakes. Disappoint God.
The encouraging news however, is that my sins are not the end all and be all of life. God’s grace is. His love is greater than life itself. When I turn to Him in repentance, the undeserved goodness of God will cover my shortcomings. Perhaps I failed Christine in her last few months. I don't know. If so, it cannot be changed. But I can learn from it – to listen to God better in future – to reach out to others when possible. To be gracious with others for their own sins. I can learn to forgive – because I’m reminded again that I too am fallible. God’s amazing grace is worth shouting out from the rooftops. It’s changed my life over the last 40 years. It blesses my life today. The Bible tells me that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7, 8
This is a special Week when we remember all Jesus suffered on our behalf. He, the Author of Life was put to death on a cross over 2000 years ago, so that you and I could become part of the amazing story of God. And He offers all who come to Him the free gift of LIFE.
The Bible contains the greatest love story ever told. Have you read it?
The Bible tells us how we can receive life in all its fullness? Have you received it?
The Bible introduces us to the greatest Lover of all time.
Have you placed your hand in His?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16