I’m convinced the Lord gave me the privilege of being a parent so that I could observe ridiculous, immature behavior and then have to admit that I might as well be looking in a mirror. Take, for instance, dinner time.
A Family Analogy
Sometimes my kids run up to me, declaring starvation and beg for a snack. I say, “No, dinner will be ready soon.” Well, you’d think I had said, “No, I’m never feeding you again in this lifetime!” Having no concept of time and being completely governed by gastronomic whims, they view me as cold and heartless. They stomp off, wanting nothing more to do with me.
I suspect behind my back they grumble amongst themselves: “Who does she think she is?” “She never listens,” “She doesn’t care about us.” They may even return to work on me. “Please,” they wheedle. “But I need some of my Valentine candy” (curious, they never ask for a broccoli floret). And then they give me the most famous, “If you really loved me, you’d give me a snack.”
But I hold firm. Why? Because I know that long before their stomachs even started to rumble, I was preparing something much much better. They were unaware, but I’ve been busy washing vegetables, browning meat, and adding spices, timing all the necessary details to perfection. Even made homemade rolls. When it’s ready, I look forward to presenting this culinary delight to those I love.And then I consider when God is silent or says no to what I ask. It could be a perfectly reasonable request, perhaps even a noble one. Do I get discouraged and think He’s mean? Do I wonder if He’s listening? Do I doubt His love for me (or even His existence?) Or do I really believe in my heart that He works all things together for good? (Romans 8:28) I certainly love Him. I know I’m called according to His purpose.
The Waiting Refines
Here's an example: our lease was up, and I was frantically looking for a place to live. I found one near the church we attended, in southwest Charlotte. I prayed—hard! The door closed. What? Why? It seemed perfect. God, we need this place. But He said no.
Haven’t we all had times where we had to wait on things? Maturity in the Lord, according to James 1:2-3, comes from perseverance. That simply means persisting in spite of difficulties. Some of us, right now, are waiting on the Lord, hoping to see the fulfillment of promises made to us long ago. But how do we persevere when the waiting is painful to the point of desperation? Those times when our minds balk -- “It’s not logical!” or when our bodies wince -- “It’s not pleasurable,” or when our sense of justice cries out in protest -- “It’s not fair!” These are the times when our faith becomes refined. Let’s face it, obedience when the way is easy is shallow and of little value. Romans 8:24 says, “Hope that is seen is no hope at all.”
How do we wait? I tell my hungry kids: “Go find something to do.” Is there a nugget of wisdom there? Perhaps we can engage in faith-building activities to bide our time. Reading Psalms for daily meditation. Serving others. Recalling stories when God has proven his faithfulness in the past, and then sharing those stories. Persistent in prayer, but patient in his timing. Here’s a good one:
My husband’s Army Private-First-Class pay was rather limited, and I was busy in our little German home with our first baby. I read the verse Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all these things will be added unto you,” and so I prayed, “Lord, please provide.” And I got busy starting a Bible study and an Army wives’ newsletter. A knock on the door came one day—one of the other wives was moving and didn’t have room for a bunch of baby clothes, exactly the size my baby needed. Specifically, she gave me medium size plastic panties (Can you believe I had prayed for those by name?). Have time for another? My son was headed to college—a large, secular one, and I was understandably nervous. Low and behold, a young man visiting church that Sunday turned out to go to that same university. And lived in the dorm assigned to my son. On the same floor. In fact, as we chatted, we soon discovered this strong believer was going to be my son’s R.A. (Resident Assistant)!!!
Oh, remember the house hunt? God was, indeed, preparing something better. We found out later the Lord said no because He knew there was a sweet spot in Cabarrus County on a cul-de-sac with a pond to the side and a creek out back—a masterpiece of delight to our growing family. Plus, being in Cabarrus County led us to friends who helped start a school called Covenant Classical, and that led to a dream job for me!
Time after time, the Lord reveals his loving care in an effort to build our faith while we wait. I have to remember that, like when I’m the parent and know when to call my children to the table, it’s my Heavenly Father’s prerogative to do the same. It’s true His ways are not always my ways, but they are always perfect. My goal, then, is to become patient in all circumstances, joyfully prepared for the moment He calls, “Come and get it!” Boy, am I gonna dig in.