This past weekend, Timmy and I went to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to see Paw Patrol Live!. We drove up on Friday and stayed overnight at a hotel, then got up the next morning to get ready to see the show.
The only problem was, Timmy woke up early due to excitement, and we were therefore ready long before it was time to leave. Timmy was mostly patient up through breakfast, but once we were back in our room with nothing to do but wait until departure time, he just couldn’t stand it. “When are we going to leave for Paw Patrol?” he asked over and over.
I told him repeatedly that we would leave at 9:15, which would give us time to get gas, drive to the venue, find parking, and get to our seats. Unsatisfied, Timmy kept repeating his question until I told him to stop asking—at which point, he changed his question to, “Why aren’t we going yet?”
“Because it’s not time to leave yet,” I said. “I will tell you when it’s time to leave, I promise.”
Even then, poor Timmy had a hard time waiting.
I don’t blame him, however, because I’m just like him. I have a hard time waiting, too, especially when it’s something that’s hugely important to me, like Paw Patrol Live! was to Timmy. So when I knew that God wanted to teach me a lesson through this experience, I assumed He wanted to teach me to wait patiently, because He knows when the right time is for everything. And He does—oh, how He wants me to learn that!—but that’s not all. He also wants me, and you, to realize how He feels when He has to make us wait for something we deeply desire.
How does He feel when He knows that on the one hand, He could grant His child’s wish, but on the other hand, He must not? When He holds back His hand because the desired thing will be good one day, but not yet, and He sees His child suffering?
I don’t know how to define it. I don’t know if I entirely know the answer. But I do know this, because Scripture teaches it over and over: God is not unmoved by our suffering. Ever. His confidence in the goodness and perfection of His plan means that He knows it is right to make us wait, not that He is unaware of the suffering this will cause us or that He is indifferent to our pain.
So, while I may not be able to define it, I think I can begin to get a glimpse of the answer, and so can you. Imagine how you would feel in that situation—you know you must make your child wait, but the longer you do, the more his suffering increases. How would you feel then?
Be reassured, my friends. Be comforted. God will never ask you, His beloved child, to wait if it’s not truly necessary. He will never withhold a good thing from you one second longer than He has to.
When giving that gift is both for His glory and in your best interest (fortunately, those two are always the same), He will present it to you.
He longs to give you good things, and He will, as soon as He can.
He’s looking forward to that moment, too.
James 1:17—Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (NIV)