At the age of seven I made an amazing discovery. While playing with a friend, we decided to throw rocks at a target. One rock caught my attention. I hurled it and the weight of it struck me as unusual. After a few minutes fishing through the grass, I found it. Only it wasn't a rock. I had discovered an old Civil War relic that had been uncovered when my father plowed the garden of our new home. More than a century earlier, bored soldiers had beaten some musket balls into squares and made dice out of them. Lost in time, the die had resurfaced in my imaginary war zone.
I showed my mother the discovery and she made me an offer I couldn't refuse. "I'll buy it from you for a dollar."
"A whole dollar?" I said with excitement. She pulled it out of her purse and snapped it tight with both hands to show me all its glory. To a seven year old boy in 1971, that was a princely sum. I made the trade and started imagining coke, candy, and a comic book. Yes, in 1971 a dollar could buy all of these.
A few years later I began to understand the value of that relic, and I wanted it back. I offered her a dollar for it, but she refused. I went up to five dollars, but she wouldn't budge. I protested that it was worth more than the dollar she paid. "You took advantage of me and it's only fair that you sell it back," I insisted.
"You didn't have to sell it," she said with a shrug. All of my pleading was repelled with her final statement, "A deal is a deal. I paid you for it and I'm not selling it back."
I felt cheated. She knew I didn't understand the value of money and it looked like she had swindled a seven-year-old out of a valuable relic of history. I complained a few more times over the next two years, and then resigned myself to my disappointment. It was a goner. I all but forgot about the relic.
Many years passed. I left home and joined the military, finished my service, married, and eventually bought a home and started my family. One day while visiting my mother, she handed me an envelope. I opened it and saw the old lead dice. "What is this for?" I asked.
"It's yours. I've been saving it until you were settled in life. I knew you would lose it, so I bought it from you," she explained. She wouldn't even accept a dollar for it.
The truth is that I would have lost it - or traded it. The dice would have been lost again to the secrets of the ground if it had remained in my possession. If she had explained this years ago, I wouldn't have agreed. So she was willing to let me think negatively of her actions in order to make sure I had it later in life when it would be cared for and safe from the wandering life of my youth.
If an earthly parent can do this, how much more is this true about our Heavenly Father. How many times do we lash out at God, distrust His intentions, and insist on our way. God isn't moved from His plan. He stays the course because in the end, we will receive all good things from His hand when we are mature enough to receive it.
Faith isn't needed when we see the end result. Faith is believing God is good, even when our limited perspective can't see it. When I think He is taking or withholding from me, He's actually preserving my good, preparing me to receive it, and waiting patiently for me to mature in the faith so I can see the value of His ways. Faith looks at what is lost and believes that because God is good, He intends something better. Faith says to release all into His trust. The end is what God has in mind. God is more willing to sacrifice His reputation in my eyes than to sacrifice my good in His eyes.
Trust not in what you see, but in His love for you. It may be days, years, or decades, but the end of faith is always God's goodness. And if we have eyes to see it, the journey toward His good is paved with His joy.