Package in the Mail

For as long as I can remember, I have loved getting packages in the mail.  I think almost everybody does.  Sometimes, in fact, I have ordered stuff, almost as much for the sake of the package as for its contents!  The lonelier I have been, the more I have longed for packages.  I remember at one low in my teenage life where my soul seemed like a desert wasteland, I got a catalog to order monthly “keepsakes”: figurines of all kinds.  I actually planned how I could get a job in order to spend all my money on packages!

Although I’ve done my share of ordering “stuff” for the accomplishment of receiving it in the mail, nothing I can order for myself is quite so thrilling as getting an unknown package from someone else.

I remember one time when I was eight getting a big package in the mail.  A huge package!  A GINORMOUS package!!  It was addressed to my mom, but my mom said I could have it.

I was elated.  I almost didn’t want to open it, I was so excited about the mystery.  The address was curiously strange: Kodak, like the kind of film my mom used in her camera.  I knew this was not a camera.  This was definitely not a camera!  The package itself was light—even I could carry it, if I could finagle my arms around its bulkiness.  The package smelled like happy mailing cardboard.  It was taped professionally with that dark tape that makes a scritching sound when you pull it out from the dispenser.  It was addressed to my mother, all right, but she had given it to me, and now it was mine! 

At last (probably a total of two seconds later), I decided to open it.  Mom asked me if I wanted help, and, since I did, she helped me with scissors.  I could never have gotten that open by myself without catastrophe!

The second I looked inside the box was a moment of sheer wonder and glib joy, delight and discovery wound together.  In the bottom of that box were four very bright things.  I did not know what they were.  One kind-of looked like a rabbit.  One kind-of looked like a bear.  One kind-of looked like a mouse.  And one, well, I had no idea what it was supposed to be.

It was all coming back to me now.  There had been a promotion going on with Kodak film.  If you bought enough film, you could send off for one of four stuffed animals.  If you bought bazookas of film, you could send off for all four.  My mom had saved up all her Kodak films from our vacation (and probably gotten some extras, too).  She’d sent off and gotten me the complete set of Kodak Kolorkins, something I had neither the resources or the ability nor even the awareness to do myself!

You know, this simple little story from my childhood reminds me of the ultimate surprise package humanity has gotten: forgiveness!  Forgiveness is one of those things none of us can send off for.  We don’t have the resources, no matter how many “good works” we try to collect.  And we don’t have the ability, no matter how skilled we may be.  And we don’t even have the awareness!  Without God’s explanation of sin, we would never have even known we needed forgiveness!

We are all lonely, and we all need this surprise package of forgiveness.  No friends, no family can replace the relationship between God and people which Adam destroyed through his disobedience.  We are in a hopeless state, pining for something we have no way of sending for and no way of receiving.

God’s forgiveness has arrived!  It’s sitting on your doorstep, waiting for you to open!  God delivers His forgiveness!  He freely gives it to us, even though we don’t deserve it and Jesus Christ is the one who has earned it for us!  And just as God delivers forgiveness and gives it to us who least deserve it, He will also help us open it!  We don’t know how to handle such a big and overwhelming package as God’s grace, but if you ask Him, He will help you unpackage it and see what bright and wonderful marvel awaits inside!

For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (Jesus, quoted in John 6:40, NIV)

O how deep are God’s riches, and wisdom, and knowledge!  How unfathomable are His decisions and unexplainable are His ways! (Romans 11:33, ISV)

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:10a, ESV)

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. (2 Corinthians 3:5, NIV)

Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God.  Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:10, ISV)

He [God] rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of His dear Son, by whom we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. (Colossians 1:13-14, GNT)

 

Scripture taken from the Good News Translation in Today’s English Version- Second Edition Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.

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