By Donna Tobin Smith
It was the 1990s and my husband and I were raising three sons. Anyone who says that raising boys is easy hasn’t done it. I loved every minute of that full-time exhausting job. But it wasn’t easy. If I wasn’t trying to retrieve green peas out of noses or popcorn kernels out of ears, I was scrubbing the mud off of something or someone.
The boys were busy all the time and each had his favorite things. The oldest one liked dinosaurs. The youngest one liked to build with Legos. And as most boys do, the middle one liked all kinds of cars. Big cars, little cars, fancy cars, and fast cars. He loved the roar of the monster trucks. He was crazy about Hot Wheels. He rumbled and raced remote control sports cars. Cars of every make and model were strewn all over our house. After tripping over the umpteenth car one week, I decided that I needed a little peace and quiet, away from booming engines and squealing tires.
Thank goodness for grandparents. They offered to keep the boys at their house for the weekend. My husband and I headed for Lynchburg, Virginia, far away from the young boy “vroommm, vroommms.” Or at least that’s what I thought, until my biggest boy, my husband, just happened to drive by a car dealership on our way to our hotel in Lynchburg. There it was – the brightest, canary yellow car I had ever seen. A 1994 Corvette. It looked just like one of the Hot Wheels that I had been tripping over. But this one was life sized.
By the time our weekend had ended, I was driving the car we had driven to Virginia toward home. And, yes, you guessed it. I was following my husband. He was driving a bright canary yellow 1994 Corvette. After spending our quiet, peaceful weekend haggling with a car salesman, he had bought the car.
We hid the car in our backyard at home before we picked up the boys. When we got the boys home, their daddy cleverly lured them out back where they soon discovered an honest to goodness life-sized Hot Wheels car. The oldest boy was speechless. The youngest one screamed. The middle one started to hyperventilate and I actually thought he might pass out. They didn’t understand. They had a million questions. They could sense the wonder, yet the mystery almost trumped their excitement. Their response was priceless.
My sons are grown men now. But their individual reactions to seeing that yellow Corvette for the first time is forever etched into my memory. I could never have predicted how awesome it would be.
Every time I remember that day I think about what my reaction will be to my ultimate surprise in this life. What will I do the day I see my Jesus face to face? “Surrounded by your glory, what will my heart feel? Will I dance for you, Jesus, or in awe of you be still? Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall? Will I sing hallelujah or will I be able to speak at all?” (“I Can Only Imagine” by Bart Millard)
Of all our earthly treasures, none can compare to our Savior. There is no surprise that will ever match the glory of the day we meet our Lord. I wonder if it could be anything like the looks on three boys’ faces the day they saw the most wonderful thing they had ever seen in their young lives.
I can only imagine.