Patience the Medicine for Perfection
I would like to relate a story today about an incident that I witnessed a couple of days ago at my workplace. Sometimes we get kids in the office with their parents, and their behaviors are so cute or outrageous I remember them for long periods afterward.
Resting on our counter, we always keep a collection of candies with various types of the sweet goodies. Jawbreakers, gummy bears, hard candies, chocolates, etc. are available and not being that concerned over the candy hogs we let our visitors take as many as they want.
While waiting for her mother to process her insurance, a small child, possibly 3 or 4 years of age, spotted the candy dish. Delightfully I watched her eyes light up when she saw all of the delicious treats. Long red curly hair was dangling down along her small delicate face; she looked almost angelic as she smiled at me. Freckles covering her chubby cheeks gave her baby face an, even more, innocence; her beautiful expression asked if she could have a piece of candy.
“You can have a candy if you like. But you need to ask your mom,” I told her kindly.
Bright blue eyes stared wantonly upwards, and her mother also understanding her nonverbal communication said to her, “just one piece.”
Her mother carefully took the bowl from the counter. Placing the candy dish in front of her daughter, her mother waited for her to choose a piece. The little girl wanted more than one piece of candy, and grabbing three pieces out of the bowl she giggled playfully.
“Only one piece honey,” her mother told her again.
Unhappy with her mother’s decision, a frown came across the little girl’s face, and she stared at the 3 pieces of candy. From the attention she was giving them, I could tell she was trying to pick out the best piece since she could only have one. A few moments later, obeying her mother, she put back 2 pieces of candy and immediately began opening the package of jawbreakers she chose.
“Not till after dinner,” her mother told her sweetly.
Alright, up to now everything was going great, but being told no again was too much for the little girl. Her lovely expression turned to anger, and she said, “No I want it.” Her mother reached for the package of candy, and the once charming little angel snatched it out of her reach. The little cherub was losing her sweetness right before my eyes, and I watched as she plopped down onto the carpeted floor and started pouting.
For a few moments, her mother negotiated with her, trying to get her to stand. To make a long story short, the two finally agreed that the little girl could have an extra piece of candy if she waited to eat it after dinner. The two walked off, and before she left the little girl happily gave me a thank you.
Like the little girl’s want for the candy, we all have desires that we are seeking for. If we are believers we look to God to answer our prayers, and we want and expect Him to give us our requests right away. Like the little girl expected to eat the package of candy as soon as she received it, we want answers to our prayers immediately.
There is something within our natures as humans that rejects the principle of patience, and this makes us desperate. We cry out louder to God, pray, and ask even more; but when answers are not immediate, or they take a while to come, it seems to us that He is not listening, He is asleep, or possibly He does not want to help.
God knows all; He sees backward, He sees present, and He sees forward. We do not have His knowledge, and it is important to realize that when our prayers are not immediately answered, it does not mean that God is not listening to us, He is asleep, or He is saying no to us. God is there, and He does hear and he wants to give us the desires of your heart. Similar to the mother telling the child “not yet,” God is saying to us, “Wait until you finish your dinner.”
Like this little girl’s mother, God knows what is best for us, and at times, He does not answer our prayers right away. In His great wisdom, He knows that a quick answer might be to our detriment, or He has something much better to give us than we are praying for. Our prayers are never unheard by God, and His loving kindness supports us while we wait, and go through our trials of faith.
Rom 5:3 “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
Romans 8:25 “But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
The little child decided to throw a temper tantrum when things did not go her way. As adults, hopefully, we do not fall to the floor in tears and pout when God does not answer our prayers when we want Him to; nevertheless, discouragement sometimes sets in. Despair is detrimental and can lead to not receiving answers to prayers. Not because it is God’s will, but because we give up.
We cannot give up on our prayers and hope in God, and we must resist any dismay or depression attempting to overwhelm us when we don’t see quick answers to them. Our thoughts and those of others are sometimes our worst enemies, especially when we are praying to God and waiting for Him to answer. If we listen and quiet ourselves when we do not understand why our prayers are not being answered, we will hear the beautiful Holy Spirit telling us, “just hang on, I will give you two pieces of candy if you can have patience.”
God has a season for everything, and when we continue to hold on to our faith through patience, He has an awesome dinner waiting, with a sweet treat accompanying it afterward.
James 1:4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.