I’ve discovered the antidote to a good day. It’s the word “no” especially when directed at my 2-year-old daughter. If she even senses that I’m about to use the word “no” in response to her request, she prepares to throw a fit. What’s more, she responds the same way to the word “wait.” In her mind, “wait” and “no” are equally disappointing. Only immediate obedience to her request is acceptable. Funny how it doesn’t work the other way around. I nearly carried her the whole way when we went for a walk around the block today because I had no patience for her dawdling.
Ah, patience. A lost art, right? Or maybe it’s a discipline. Definitely a discipline. Art sounds more fun, and patience is not fun. I guess my daughter and I agree on something. Hearing “wait” is almost as bad as hearing “no.” And boy do I want to pitch a fit sometimes when I sense that God is telling me to wait on something. As I remind my daughter time and again, “wait” and “no” are not the same thing. “Wait” just means I need a little more time to fulfill your request.
One of the hardest waiting games I played with God was for Phil. We were friends for nearly four years before we started dating, and in that time, I pined for him. God said, “Wait.” Reluctantly, I did, even giving up on him a couple of times and turning my attention to other men who were around. When a bombshell hit Phil’s life, I knew then why God had told me to wait. I still wasn’t sure that we’d end up together, but I knew that God had His reasons. Three months before we started dating, I realized I loved Phil, and acknowledging that to myself was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do because I knew that if we weren’t together that I would lose his friendship, too. I could not be just friends with a man I knew I loved. Especially if he loved someone else. The stuff of romance novels and great dramatic movies this was. Or so it felt at the time.
Obviously, we did end up together, and I don’t at all regret listening to God and waiting on His timing. He worked it out more perfectly than I could have. Once again, I’m facing a couple of timing frustrations. God is surely saying, “Wait” where one situation is concerned, yet right now it feels like it might as well be a “no,” and on the other, I’m still not sure. If it’s a “no” I’ll be crushed. I think.
I’d like to think I’m mature enough spiritually to not throw a fit, but I know better than that. I will whine and cry and try to force Him to give me what I want, or think I want, right now, not days, months or years from now when it might be better for me. I will pout and try to manipulate Him into feeling guilty for not giving my desire to me.
And I will be reminded of this: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4, NIV
If I know God, though, He may change the desires of my heart, especially if I spend my time delighting in Him.