When I was about 10 years old, I was obsessed with Boys II Men. My older brothers drenched me in music, so my pallet was diverse, but I had this thing for R&B. Back in the early 90s, we did not have streaming, downloading or YouTube. In order to hear your favorite song or artist, you had to listen to the radio and pray your song would come on. Alternatively, you could pay the $12.99 and purchase the CD at your local store. At 10 years old, I had no money. My full dependence to get that CD relied solely on my parents. My mom didn’t buy me what I wanted without some heavy begging and hours of housework. Every time we went to the store, I followed her around with the CD in my hand hoping she would see my desperation, feel sorry for me and give in. When that didn’t work, I became a nuisance. “Moooooooommmmmmmm, ppplllleeeaaaassseeee. I promise I’ll clean the house and be on my best behavior.” Still, my mom did not cave. After exhausting all my tricks, I resulted to giving in to my impatience and throwing a tantrum. I stomped out of the store, with the angriest look I could muster, crossed my arms and pouted. I got in the car, began to complain and overreact, “I never get what I want.” My mother turned around and out of exasperation she yelled, “I bought you the CD! It’s under the tree!”
Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.
Instead of waiting for Christmas Day, I had now ruined my surprise. I have to give my ten-year-old self some slack as I look back. When you are young, you are selfish and impatient. When you want something as bad as I did, you want it now and you aren’t willing to wait. The sad thing is I am no longer ten years old, but I tend to repeat the same feelings of frustration when I don’t get what I want when I want it.
I do not handle a delay or interruption very well and God knows that. He continues to place me in situations where He sharpens my patience, yet more times than not, I fail miserably. Thankfully, God is full of mercy (Psalm 125:8) and grace (John 1:16) and He has not given up on me yet. Actually, He never will.
When I wait, You strengthen my heart. Psalm 27:14
A delay from God is not denial. God wants us to show faith during those times where nothing seems to be happening. Just because the answer has not come yet, it does not mean God is not going to answer. Just as my mom would not give in to my begging and pleading, God is not going to reveal His answer until the time is right. When you cannot take it anymore, you actually can. That is, if you stay faithful in prayer and faithful in God's promises.
If it seems slow, wait for it, it will surely come: it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3
I felt horrible when my tantrum resulted in my mom yelling at me out of frustration. Sure, I was thrilled. I got what I wanted, but I felt guilty. My actions ruined it. I wasn’t able to enjoy the gift like I would have, had I just waited a couple more weeks.
Don’t try to get so ahead of God, by forcing things to happen. When it is not on God’s time or in God’s will, the experience will not be the same. I still have a lot to learn, but I am grateful that God is more concerned about my character than my comfort. He loves me too much to stay the same.
If you notice that God is allowing you to repeat situations, or stay in a certain place, recognize that God is allowing you to stay there to teach you something valuable. Don’t ruin your surprise. Instead stay faithful and patient. It will come at the right time - God’s time. After all, He is always on time.