Revisiting Some Archived Articles that Have Not Been Lost, but May Have Been Forgotten and Are Worth a Fresh Read
Original Post Date: December 11, 2012
In Luke 1:30–33 (NIV), the angel speaks to Mary: “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” After the birth of Jesus, when the shepherds found Him with Mary and Joseph, the shepherds told everyone what the angels had said about Jesus.
Luke reports in 2:19 (NIV): “. . . Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” I have often wondered what these experiences must have been like for Mary. She did not express doubt; rather, she trusted God and was grateful for God’s hand in her life. Yet, what was it like to wait?
Mary had to wait first for the birth of Jesus and for all the many details leading to the birth to be resolved. Then she waited to see how the angels’ messages about Jesus’ reign would come to fruition. I am guessing the reality of what she saw was not exactly what she had hoped for or expected. Isn’t this what our lives are so often like as well?
God knows the desires of our hearts. However, though we strive to glorify God in the decisions we make, the circumstances we experience are often not what we might have hoped for or expected. Still, we can rest in the assurance that God is faithfully and completely fulfilling His plans for our lives.
In my own walk with the Lord, I am learning to trust God more. I can look back on sinful choices I have made and see how God mercifully saved me from what could have been horrifying consequences. There have been times when I prayed for something I thought I wanted, needed, or deserved and then had to deal with the hurt and disappointment of getting the exact opposite. Often I look back and am grateful that God was in control instead of me; such observations can be painful. Of course, God often surprises us with unexpected blessings and delights that are certainly undeserved. We serve a faithful, loving, merciful, creative, and generous Lord!
My basic understanding of God’s sovereignty is still in development as I grow in Christ. What can I do to help my sweet children along in their acceptance of God’s sovereignty and the knowledge that His timing is always perfect—though perhaps not in line with their hopes and wishes? Part of the answer to that question lies in taking advantage of those little “teachable” moments that arise during circumstances of life. As opportunities present themselves, I allow my children to experience waiting.
On a daily basis I require my children to wait—often after completing a prerequisite task or behavior—for privileges such as television time, time to play, and free choice of reading material. They must take turns and wait to play with toys that are stored in bins in the garage.
Our family has experimented with an incentive system whereby our children can earn privileges such as special sweet treats, cute notebooks, bath sponges, flashlights, and so on. They can also save up for a special date with a parent, which has been a popular choice. Overall, I must honestly report that success of the “program” has been limited. We are accepting of that. Why should our children be expected to demonstrate more sanctification, more maturity in Christ, than do we? The value is not in exacting perfection from them; the value is in the striving—in the learning—and they are learning to wait.
We cannot possibly equate the kind of waiting Mary experienced with the waiting that my children experience when they want to play with a certain toy, but it is our hope that as they practice waiting during childhood, they will mature as children of God who wait patiently and confidently on Him. Undoubtedly, God will provide them with many opportunities to practice trusting in Him. My husband and I also try to reflect the awesome mercy and grace of God poured out on us by blessing our children with unearned rewards, sometimes when they least deserve or expect it.
It is fine, even advisable, for parents to develop guidelines and routines for their households. It is good for children to know what is expected of them. We parents can bless our children by loving them and providing godly guidance. Richer blessings, however, reside in God’s Word and there is no reason for our children to wait to receive these blessings. All children can be richly blessed as they personally learn God’s Word, ponder it, and hide it in their hearts. We have been given the hope of spending eternity worshiping God—it is worth the wait. Ultimately, I pray that my children will come to cherish this truth.