One of my favorite summer pastimes is taking Scarlett out in her little $30 backyard pool from target. On a hot afternoon, after putting Scarlett in the pool, I brought her out a treat to enjoy – a fresh orange slice.
As I sat watching her in utter delight, I slowly watched this poor orange slice get destroyed. Besides getting mashed to death from her new baby teeth, this orange slice was completely water logged from being dropped in the pool several times and was now being dropped on the dirty concrete patio.
I reached down to take what was left of the dirty and mangled orange slice and threw it over the fence into a neighboring open field.
Within milliseconds, a horrendous scream erupted from my 7 month old daughter. She was stomping and slapping the water, and was in full meltdown mode. From across the street, you might have wondered if I had amputated a limb from this child.
I wasn’t worried at all. I had a very specific reason I took the orange slice away.
While Scarlett was still in tantrum mode, I reached up to the table and grabbed a plate containing 5 more orange slices I prepared and cut to perfection earlier in the day.
I had anticipated not giving her one slice, but as many slices as she would want.
For Scarlett, her reality was limited to the simple fact that I had taken away something she enjoyed. Her reality was a single orange slice with no more orange slices in the future. All she could do was focus on what had been taken away.
But sometimes our perception of reality and what we think is true and what we think is best can lead us into a lie.
I, as her Father, had anticipated this pool party and had prepared several orange slices – not just one. In reality, I had dozen more oranges in a bowl in the kitchen waiting that could be prepared at any moment. In reality, I would drive to the store in a second to get more oranges if she desired.
In reality, my desire to give to her cannot be exhausted.
I gave her the fresh new orange slice and the tears subsided and life returned to normal… until orange slice #2 reached it’s breaking point and it too became destroyed as well. Once again, I took the orange slice away and Scarlett again melted down. This cycle repeated over and over again.
This tiny exchange of a father giving his daughter orange slices revealed my very own broken ways in which I have understood the heart of God and his nature.
Much of my life, I have looked at God as someone who takes away rather than gives abundantly.
I honestly believed that I shouldn’t ever like something too much, because if I did, then surely God would take it away. I was certain that if there was too much enjoyment, it would become an idol and God would take it away.
This is not the heart of God at all.
I think we lose sight that many of the blessings we have in life are given from God and exist simply to be enjoyed. I believe this now more than ever because I now understand the nature of the Father’s heart is to take delight in the joy of His children.
The very reason I gave Scarlett orange slices was for her enjoyment. I get pleasure from seeing my daughter delight in the gifts I give her. I love nothing more than to see my daughter bask in pure enjoyment.
With this in mind, I am realizing so many times in my past, God was freeing up my hands to receive something even better – but I had failed to realize it.
Here is the scary thought...
Could it be possible that I never received some blessings because I refused to let go of what I thought was best? Is it possible that my own choices and stubborn shortsightedness robbed me of the blessings of God? I can only speculate.
For now, I am understanding my circumstances as a temporary orange slice that will likely need to be changed sooner or later. But I rest in the hope that there is a plate of better gifts waiting for me if I would only let go long enough to receive them.