A Broken DVD Player and the Gift of Being Known

On Surprise Packages and Divine Love

I know most people got rid of their DVD players a decade ago, but I’m old school — I still have a stack of CDs in my car, and sometimes I prefer watching an old DVD over Netflix. One night my roommate and I went to Redbox and picked out a movie, set ourselves up with popcorn in the living room, and settled in for the movie to start, only to find that the DVD player wasn’t working. We turned it off and back on and switched the plug-ins, but after a while, we decided to join the 21st century and rent the movie on Amazon Prime. After we finished the movie, I unplugged the old DVD player and decided it was time to retire it. I put it on my list to buy a new one.

The next day I was talking to my dad and I off-handedly mentioned that my DVD player had broken. A few days after that, two packages and a bigger box showed up on my doorstep. I couldn’t recall ordering anything but sometimes I forget. I opened the first package, and inside was Beauty and the Beast (my favorite of the Disney princess movies) on DVD. “That’s weird,” I thought. “Why would someone send me this?” I knew immediately I hadn’t ordered it. My DVD player was broken.

I opened the second package, and there were three more DVDs of Disney classics. “How strange!” I thought. “Maybe this is supposed to be a gift for someone,” I thought. As I pulled out the scissors to open the bigger box, I realized I already knew what was inside the box. I turned to my roommate, who was watching the unboxing, and said, “I bet you five thousand dollars this is a DVD player.” There it was, a shiny new DVD player inside the box.

The funny thing is there was not a single note in any of the packages. But I knew who they were from — my dad had sent them all. My dad is a gift-giver. When I was a kid, he would go on trips and bring home keychains, candies, and toys from wherever he had been. He would send my mom flowers when he was gone, and he always picked out the best Christmas and birthday gifts. My dad has a super generous heart, and since I’ve lived on my own, I’ve received a few different unmarked packages with gifts inside. Once I mentioned that I missed his homemade beef jerky, a week later I got a food dehydrator and some seasoning packets in the mail. Another time I got a box of five pints of ice cream from my favorite ice cream place — no birthday or holiday, just because. That’s just who my dad is.

Once, Jesus asked his friends, “Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will you give him a serpent?” I don’t think I’d ever ask my dad for a fish, but you get the idea. We know that our dads want to take care of us. They want to give us the things we need, but I love that, like my dad, God’s gifts aren’t always that practical. Sure, there are plenty of things I physically need, but instead, I get five pints of ice cream. Why? Because of extravagant, over-the-top love.

Jesus goes on, “As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13 GNT). I think a lot of us are afraid to ask God for things because we think that if we ask for a DVD player, He’ll make us feel bad for wanting to watch movies and ship us a box of Bibles instead. Or He would tell me to not waste my time making beef jerky when I could be feeding the homeless. But that’s not at all how Jesus talks about His Father.

The best part is sometimes God gives gifts even before we turn to Him and ask in faith. I never asked my dad for the DVD player — it just showed up at my door. And the crazy thing is, I haven’t done anything particularly special lately to deserve this gift. A gift is way more about the giver’s heart than the receiver’s worthiness.

When I opened the third box, I already knew what it was and who it was from. Because I know who my dad is. I know his character, and I know his love. And I know he loves to give good gifts.

I think God is a lot like that. God is constantly sending us little gifts in small packages (or big boxes!) and most of the time, there’s no card that says, “Hey you! This is from God! He loves you!” But the more we get to know the heart of God, the more that we know what gifts from Him look like. And conversely, the more we receive gifts from God, the more we learn about who God is.

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3 responses to “A Broken DVD Player and the Gift of Being Known”

  1. Charlotte Getz says:

    I love this, Kate!! Just the word I needed today

  2. Bill says:

    Thank you!!

  3. Christina says:

    This is awesome, as a fellow long-distance family member and package receiver! This summer I mentioned the house getting hot while cooking, and received an almost immovable box…with a grill to keep the house cooler in the summer. hahaha

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