why God might wait…
I didn’t expect for a puzzle to have this kind of affect on me, it was just a puzzle, after all? Yes, it was just a puzzle, but it was a puzzle that I knew would thrill our little Sam the moment he laid eyes on it. The sales clerk in the store didn’t need to go on, I was sold. I picked up the puzzle, headed for the counter, paid the bill, and waited for my package to be gift-wrapped.
Over the next couple of days, I found myself thinking- no dwelling– on this Christmas gift for Sam. I imagined him opening it and squealing with delight. I thought about the excitement he would feel over playing with the unique latches that close the special doors. I played the scenario over and over again in my mind. It was, without competition, the most excited I have ever felt about giving someone a gift.
From time to time, I found myself growing so excited- so impatient almost- to give Sam his present. I told Joe a few times, “Let’s just give it to him now, I don’t want to wait!” There were times when I felt as though my heart was bouncing up and down with anticipation just to see Sam’s reaction and enjoyment in this gift, a gift that I knew he would love.
Joe would remind me, “You don’t really want to give him his gift yet, do you?” Yes. Yes, I do! I don’t want to wait, it is killing me to wait! “But don’t you want to wait until we are actually celebrating Christmas?” “Don’t you want to take pictures of him in his pajamas?” “Don’t you want to ‘set the stage’ a bit and make it as special as possible?” Yes. I do. I really, really do. So waiting is what we did. And it was hard, much harder than I ever imagined.
The next day as I was finishing up my Christmas shopping, still mulling over Sam opening his gift, it kind of hit me…
Is this what the Lord was feeling those three years he was withholding children from us?
Was God actually having to restrain himself from giving us a child years earlier?
All those years that I thought God wasn’t listening to me, was he really just anxiously preparing?
Did it really delight God this much to give us the child we so longed for?
I can’t prove it, but there’s a part of me that thinks all of these are true. Since becoming a parent, I’m beginning to believe that wisely withholding good gifts from your children can actually be harder than having to wait for the gift itself. I say this with caution, knowing full well that God doesn’t always give us what we want, but he will never withhold what we need.
I’m slowly learning that when you are a child of God, his withholding isn’t out of anger or spite or indifference, but out of love and wisdom, always withholding for a greater purpose. So that when the time comes, both of you can enjoy the gift to the fullest- you as the recipient, and Him as the Giver.
“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18