We just finished a season filled with gifts. Gift giving. Gift receiving. The gift of Christ, celebrated at Christmas. Perhaps you can remember a time when you wished and hoped to find one specific gift under the tree. When Christmas morning came, you were delighted to find it waiting there for you! However, as we often discover as kids, these gifts don’t always bring the joy and fulfillment we were hoping for. Many a parent can attest that their kids sometimes had more fun with the boxes and the wrapping than the toy itself. Or maybe you remember a moment when you opened a gift that was unexpected, but much loved and treasured for many years to come. Or maybe you remember wishes left unrealized, gifts you were hoping for but never did receive.
Sometimes life is like this. Kids grow up with dreams and ambitions. They think that they might be a firefighter or an astronaut or a doctor. They have dreams of playing professional sports, dreams of marrying their soulmate, dreams of travels and adventures. They have dream homes and dream cars and dream futures. If we’re honest, even as adults, we have dreams like this. What did you imagine for your life, and how did it turn out? Did you get everything you imagined, or did life take a different path?
2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
At camp, kids often have a chance to express their hopes and dreams. At the same time, they’re learning about God’s plans for their lives. They’re learning about the promises of God and the faithfulness of God. Sometimes, when our dreams don’t come true, we might wonder if God has forgotten or if God is late. Is God hearing my prayers?
Mary might have wondered that before the angel came to tell her about the Savior she would bear. Maybe she wondered about this promised Messiah, predicted long ago. Where was he? Where was God? Today, we can read her story and know that God had a plan, a perfect plan, and that God had chosen Mary. God chose that time and that nation. God knew, from the moment the world was created, that Jesus was coming. It was nothing like anyone dreamed or imagined. But it was exactly what we needed.
God’s timing is perfect and God’s plan will never go awry. Whatever you are waiting on, wishing for, or hoping in, know that God is not slow and is never late. God knows you, and created you for such a time as this. The life you lead was given to you. It is a gift from God, and we pray that each day is a treasure and a chance for you to realize exactly how wonderful, how great, and how marvelous are God’s plans for you!