FOCUS – Why wait?
When my siblings and I were very small, my mother was rather vigilant about keeping our little bodies junk food free. There was the occasional dish of ice cream served (not without its virtue, when one considers the calcium content), but there was never a bag of chips or box of cookies in our kitchen.
Unless, of course, Liz was coming over. Occasionally my parents would go out, and Liz, the teenager down the street, was hired as babysitter. In her honor, my mother would stock the uppermost cupboard in our kitchen with chips and cookies and every manner of forbidden food. Our instructions were clear: we were not allowed to ask Liz to serve us any of these foods. But, if she decided to snack on them, we were permitted to join her. When Liz arrived, my mother would fling open the cupboard door, displaying the bounty within. “Eat whatever you like,” she would say.
Once my parents were out the door, Liz would sit tidily on the couch with her large textbooks open, writing curly letters in her spiral notebook. My brother and sister and I would warily approach the couch. Soon, Davy’s courage was mustered. “Are you hungry, Liz? Would you like a snack?” I would follow suit: “Did you know there are Ruffles in there? And Oreos! Lots of Oreos!” Tiny Jenni would simply nod her head in agreement. “I’m not really hungry,” Liz would reply.
Liz would eventually realize that there would never be enough peace to finish her social studies assignment until she brought out the snacks. Down would come the treats, and Liz would nibble with disinterest on a chip or two. Meanwhile, Davy, Jenni and I would attack the food with a sense of celebration.
Of all the things one may gain in this life, the sweetest of those are the things for which he has to wait. By instinct, we want immediate gratification of all our desires. Such expediency leads to discontentment and boredom. Think of the child who gets every toy he requests. He can never be satisfied, and he is quickly tired of each acquisition. But the child who stares at the shiny red bike through the toy store window, who mows the lawn to earn a few dollars, who saves every penny what joy he has when he has enough money to buy the bike! Or if it comes to him as a gift, he still has great joy if he has spent time longing for it.
I think of Job, and wonder if the blessings God gave him after his trials were better cherished than the blessings he had before his trials. Though Job was always a righteous man, I suspect he appreciated God’s goodness even more the second time around. It is human nature. Job 42:12 says: “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.” He had just as many children as before, and twice as much stuff! But anyone who knows what it is like to be in want will assume that he also had double the appreciation for all that God had given him. I doubt that a day went by without Job marveling at how God had restored his life.
The Christian will find that, at some point in her life, God will withhold something that she incorrectly perceives as essential to her well-being. He will delay a blessing she craves. Or he will prolong a trial she does not think she can withstand. At such times, Christian friend, God is not hurting you. He is helping you. And you will see that, when all is resolved, you savor each blessing and rejoice over each victory more than you could have if all had been easy.
Let me broaden the scope for a moment. Life itself is a difficult task, a long journey, full of valleys and peaks. Something deep in our souls yearns for true rest. And one day, we will find it. One day, we will meet our Lord and Savior, and take up residence in our eternal home. And living in God’s direct presence will be all the sweeter because we have anticipated it, pined for it, dreamed of it. It may even be the case that humans will enjoy heaven more than the angels, because of all the trouble endured on the way there!
While on our way to heaven, however, there are many blessings to be had. It could be 14,000 sheep and 6,000 oxen, like Job had. It could be a fistful of Oreos. Whatever gift God has in mind for you, don’t begrudge the wait. God does not spoil his children by doling out goodies so recklessly that they cannot be enjoyed. He denies nothing that we need, and often gives us things just to delight us…but in his perfect timing.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry…He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Psalm 40: 1, 3 e-mail Amy Reardon at email@example.com