The Gift of Time

Once upon a time, there lived a man who dearly loved God. This man had a wife and an estranged nineteen year old daughter. He lived with his wife just outside a small town in the mountains, on 80 acres of richly wooded countryside, in a large and beautiful log cabin home which he had built with his own hands many years before.

On this particular spring morning, the man stepped out of his house and went for a long walk in the woods. His heart was very troubled and he needed some time alone to think about his past…

When his daughter was very young, he had quit his stressful job in the city, sold his expensive house in the suburbs and moved his family to this rural mountainous area to live a slower paced life and enjoy the natural beauty of what he called “God’s country.” He thought it was the right thing to do. He believed that God approved of his decision; that he had God’s blessing.

Over the years, he had made many friends in his small community. Yet, even though his new job was much less stressful, he longed for a greater challenge. So, he acquired a substantial loan against his home and with it started his own small manufacturing company. Because he was a kind and trusted member of his community, many of his friends eventually came to work for him. Over time they demonstrated great loyalty and commitment, and he grew to care very much about them and there families.

When his daughter turned 17, she entered a rebellious period and went against her father in almost everything. One day in anger he repeated to her what he had been taught by his father. He said “While you are living under my roof, you will abide by my rules!” The next day, his daughter was gone and he never heard from her again. He felt much regret over what he had done and wished he could take it back, but he had no way of finding his little girl. His regret and sense of loss never abated.

Then, over the next two years, his company’s economic situation began to destabilize as many of his wholesale customers started buying cheaper products made in China. In a desperate attempt to keep himself and his friends employed, He took out a second mortgage on what remained of his $500,000 home equity, lowered his wholesale prices and broadened his product line. But this only delayed the inevitable. His costumers were not loyal and did not value the fact that his products were quality-made in the U.S.A.

Eventually he had no choice but to concede to defeat. He auctioned off his commercial property and used the majority of his liquid assets to provide his employees with several months severance pay so that they would have time to find other jobs without having to suffer financial hardship as a result of his failure. He cared about his people and felt it was right to do this. He believed that God approved of his decision; that he had God’s blessing.

Over the next several months he had unexpected difficulty finding a new job. What little remained of his savings went quickly due to his high mortgage payments and his house went into default. He was about to lose everything…

While he walked his property on this particular day, he talked to God as he often had many times in the past. He ask God to please forgive him for his many mistakes. And he passionately begged God for help with his two greatest pains; the loss of his beloved daughter, and the impending loss of his home. Then, he cast his fate to God and trusted with all faith he had in him.

Suddenly, he tripped and fell. As he got to his feet, he looked to see what he had tripped over and noticed a rock that resembled a bone sticking up out of the ground. It looked too large to be a small indigenous mammal and he became concerned that it might actually be human. He called the sherif who then came to investigate and brought the local forensic examiner to have a look. The examiner said that the bone was not human; that is was in fact a very old reptile fossil.

This intrigued the sherif and so of his own accord he later brought out an acquaintance of his deputy who was an archeology buff. The want-to-be archeologist dug up a little more of the bones and immediately recognized the pristine skeleton as a rare type of small and very old dinosaur. He suggested that a museum might be interested in this rare find. The man thought about it and decided to contact a museum. He told them they could just come out take it and freely share it with the rest of the world. He believed that God approved of his decision; that he had God’s blessing.

Two weeks later a work crew came out to dig up the entire skeleton and transport it off the property. The museum curator and a newspaper reporter also came to talk to the man. The curator expressed his appreciation and informed the man that this particular skeleton was almost completely intact and of great scientific significance. It represented a kind of 350 million year old missing link. The fact that it was even found in this area was a big surprise to the entire archeological community. The curator then gave the man the distinct honor of naming the dinosaur.

The man named it without hesitation. The reporter then asked why he had picked that particular name. The man informed him that it was the name of his beloved daughter and, without feeling shame over his past mistake, he told the story of how he had lost her and felt such regret, wishing he could somehow take it all back.

One week later, the work crew had finished up and left, and the curator came to speak to the man one final time. He thanked the man for his generous gift but then informed him that, because of the fossil’s significant scientific value and amazing condition, the museum’s board of directors felt compelled to authorize reasonable compensation anyway in the amount of $600,000 which he immediately presented to the man in the form of a cashiers check. The man was speechless. Then, he openly thanked God and began shaking the curator’s hand incessantly.

As the curator drove out of sight, the man stood there with a big smile waving goodbye. He then turned around to walk back to his house but noticed he was not alone. Standing in front of him was his daughter with tears in her eyes holding up a newspaper article about a famous dinosaur that bore her name.

For God so loved His child that He chose to answer this prayer 350 million years before it was asked.

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