If you, perchance, do not know much about God, then please allow me to help you by telling you something you really should know: God is always way, way ahead of the curve.
She showed up at our church a few years ago, a precious little girl who is the neighbor of one of our families. This family asked for permission to bring her to church and was granted it. When she arrived, she quickly latched onto one of our church girls about her age, and they became fast friends. Everyone fell in love with this new little girl; she was so unbelievably sweet and shy.
About a month after Christmas, our little church girl brought a special baby doll to church, one that she had been given for Christmas. It was beautiful and almost eerily lifelike. She held it with her all through service as her little friend sat beside her. Then, after service, she and her family spoke to us at the door on the way out, and she showed me her doll.
"I wish I had one of those," we overheard her little friend say wistfully.
Immediately, the very good God of heaven made it very clear to my heart that we needed to get her one; he loved this little girl and wanted to do something special for her. About 15 minutes later, Dana and I were online, looking up those dolls.
Have you ever been really shocked by a price tag? I have obviously never been a baby-doll person; my toys growing up were all distinctly masculine and consisted mostly of sticks, rocks, knives, bats and toy guns. But I never would have dreamed in a million years that a baby doll could make a person gulp at the price tag; how much does shaped plastic really cost, after all? Anytime a tiny toy costs roughly the same as a decent 50,000-mile tire, I have to question whether some toy manufacturer is gouging gullible customers.
But within a day or so, God gave Dana and me a bit of unexpected funds, and (not surprisingly) it more than matched the price of the baby doll. So we bought it and then gave it to her when it arrived a few weeks later. The look on her face was worth more than all the gold in Fort Knox to us.
For the next few years, she would very sporadically come to church with her neighbors. And then, recently, she came again. She was carrying a pretty heavy load for a still young lady and asked to speak to Dana and me after service.
So, once we were done shaking hands with everyone, we and another little friend of hers came back into the office to talk. She talks so softly that I brought my chair out from behind the desk and sat in front of her. She talked about a great many concerns of her heart and then abruptly blew me out of the water by asking, "Have you ever saved anybody?"
I smiled and said, "No, but I have introduced a whole lot of people to the One who can." And then I began to go through the Scripture with her, carefully, verse by verse and truth by truth, helping her to understand salvation. But when we got to the point of receiving it as a free gift, I did not seem to be getting through to her.
And then I remembered the doll.
After reminding her that we paid for a pretty expensive doll and that all she had to do was willingly receive it, I saw her eyes light up with understanding. A few minutes later, she was bowing her head, telling the Lord she was sorry for her sin, that she believed he had risen from the dead, and asking her to save her and take control of her life.
Her face was different when she was done; peace does that for a person, young or old, when they come to know Christ. She will doubtless have more battles to face and a lot of growing to do as a follower of Christ, but now she has the indwelling Holy Spirit to make all of that possible, and now she never has to worry about what would happen if she died this very night. And I am utterly convinced that it would not have happened, at least not then, if God had not arranged for a precious baby doll to be given to her as a gift.
So let me say it again: God is always way, way ahead of the curve.
We go through so many things in life: sicknesses, tragedies, heartaches, worries and setbacks. And we always seem to have the view that, whatever our first moment facing it is, is also God's first moment facing it with us. We mistakenly think that God and man arrive at the point of trials or tests together when the reality is that he has already been there, knows what is coming and has been preparing for it all the while.
There is simply nobody like him, right down to the gift of a baby doll that leads to the gift of salvation.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at wordofhismouth.com. Email him at [email protected].