My parents have often told me the story of how, when I was a small child, I asked for a Mickey Mouse tent for Christmas. I had never seen such a thing, but had simply reasoned that Santa Claus could make one for me. Mickey Mouse merchandise was not nearly as readily available then as it is now, but my parents put a gargantuan effort into the task of seeking out the tent my little child mind had invented. Amazingly, they found it—or so they thought.

On Christmas morning, I woke up and rushed down to the Christmas tree. Next to the tree was standing a big tent with Mickey Mouse and his friends emblazoned upon its surface. The first words out of my mouth are ones my parents laugh at to this day: “I didn’t want Goofy on it!”

Although this story may make it sound otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas morning as a child, partly because I wholeheartedly believed my parents knew me—knew what was best for me, and what would bring me joy—better than I did.

So as I grew up, it was easy for me to accept that God also knew me better than I did, knew what was best for me better than I could, and knew what would make me happy better than my own plans.   

I saw that my parents gave me good gifts based on their knowledge of who I was, therefore, I reasoned that God was similarly fashioning my life with his perfect knowledge of my needs. As a result, I approached each situation in life as a gift from God, tailor-made for me, and cherished the many blessings surrounding me.

As an adult, I have sometimes found that I get distracted from this attitude by disappointments or irritations. One evening not too long ago, I was coming home from a friend’s house later than I had hoped and found the bridge across the river to my apartment blocked due to construction. To my annoyance, I realized that I would have a much longer and more circuitous walk home than I had anticipated.

I walked in the dark and silence along the river for quite some time, lamenting the situation, and other disappointing elements of my life.

Eventually, fireflies began to flicker across the path. I like fireflies. In the middle of a busy work week, in the midst of a noisy city, God’s personal gift to me was a peaceful, silent nature walk in the company of fireflies.

God loves me. I hope I won’t miss seeing any more of the gifts he places in my path.

David Purdy is a Salvationist and a librarian at Booth University College in Winnipeg.

Feature photo: © fotostorm/

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