I am only a month away from my 50th birthday and the event of hitting that milestone in life has sent me into a bit of an emotional tailspin. It seems that many things that I thought I had all figured out are now not as secure as I thought they once were, and I’m in a season of watching and waiting that I never saw coming. I feel restless and discontent in many things and I have the strong feeling in my spirit that God is up to something that even I can’t begin to imagine. For many, those types of feelings would bring excitement and anticipation and even hope. But watching and waiting has never been a strength for me. I’m a “want to know the outcome right now” kind of girl. I want the good things He has in store, but I want it now, neatly wrapped in a package with a bow.
Part of my job as a school psychologist includes evaluating and understanding a set of skills students need in order to be academically (and ultimately in life) successful. These are called executive functioning skills and they are quite fascinating to study. Over the years, delayed gratification has been studied in young children using what has been termed “the marshmallow test”. In this observation, children are offered a choice. They can have one marshmallow now or they can wait until the examiner returns after several minutes and can have two marshmallows. The hope is that the children will recognize that two are better than one and that they can control their behavior and wait for the greater reward. Watch how the two-year old daughter of one of my sweet friends handled the challenge.
I’m afraid I can relate far too much to the angst that this angel experiences. It’s so tempting to grab the good thing that’s right there in front of me even though I know that God likely has something so much better for me in the future. Sometimes I just want to touch the thing I can see and maybe even roll it around in life a few times because I don’t have the faith or the discipline to hang on for what’s to come. I often ask, “Can I have it yet?” or I smile politely as if to say to God, “But look how good I’m being!”
The Bible tells us in Psalm 27 verse 14, “Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” Psalm 46:10 tells us to “Be still and know that I am God.” In Corinthians 2:9 we are told that, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”
These are just three scriptures of hundreds that remind us of His goodness and faithfulness to those who are patient and still. So, why is waiting and trusting that God will do what’s best for my life so incredibly hard?
As I wrestle with these questions, I’m beginning to realize that just like my sweet friend hasn’t reached the level of maturation to understand that the wait is worth it, often in my faith journey I revert back to the immature behavior I exhibited early in my faith and I somehow forget how many times He’s proven his faithfulness to me over and over again. Basically I behave like a spiritual two-year-old. In Corinthians13:11-12 we are reminded, “ When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
We aren’t supposed to know everything fully this side of Heaven, but one day we will. One day we will have that face to face meeting and all questions will vanish in an instant. Until that day I am learning to practice living in daily gratitude and contentment, while still being hopeful for tomorrow. I want to appreciate what God gives me in each moment, while trusting that “His ways are higher than my ways” and that “He knows the plans He has for me” even when I cannot see even a glimpse of what they might be. I want to be able to wait and watch without worry. I have a lot of growing up to do.
I have no idea what God might be up to in my life right now, and it's terribly uncomfortable, but I’m going to hang on to this sweet video as a reminder to give it all I’ve got to wait. Whatever it is will be for my good because that's the God that I know and trust. I don't deserve a love like His.