I’ve heard people say so many times, “Oh if only I’d waited on the Lord. What would my life have been like if I’d waited to receive what HE had to give me, rather than taking for myself what I wanted?” I wonder what it is they… okay, we… think that the Lord would have given us? The presidency of a company? Wealth and fame? A husband with the soul and wisdom of King Solomon and the looks of a movie star, completely devoted to us and ignoring all our own faults? Perfect children who never give us a minute’s worry?
I wonder why we think that.
Jesus painted quite a different picture about the Christian life. It wasn’t all waving palm trees and “Hosanna!” was it? More like a lot of very hard work.
“The Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”… not a mansion or even a mini-manse.
Jesus walked, and walked, and walked… when He finally caught a ride, it was on an unbroken donkey colt… not in a leather-interior, ultimate-sound system Yukon, Hummer, or Mercedes.
Jesus shared a little boy’s lunch… with over 5,000 people. Loaves and fishes that had been sitting around in some little boy’s lunch box in the hot Mediterranean sun all day… not exactly the finest epicurean delights.
He washed His disciples’ dirty feet. He preached an unwelcome message to the powers that existed in their time. He had to elude capture until it was His time. He was never able to marry or have children, although by His choice we are His chosen children… not exactly perfect kids who never give him a minute’s worry, are we? He had to escape His friends for precious few moments to have time to pray to His Father.
And then for all of that… He was beaten, mocked, spit upon, forced to carry the cross He would be nailed to, and ultimately crucified.
And yet, we wonder… what would God have given me, if I had only waited on Him?
Now I’m not saying that God doesn’t give His best to those who wait on Him… I’m just pondering the difference between what we imagine His best to be, and what He knows it to be. Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve… isn’t that to be true of us, as well? Why do we think we are outside of God’s will for us, if we love Him and obey Him right now… because things aren’t easy? Are they meant to be?
I truly believe that God isn’t nearly as concerned about our specific situation as He is about the specific state of our hearts. What job we take, where we live, which house we buy, which spouse we marry, the choices we make with our days and nights… those are all important in their own respects. God knows about every sparrow, and clothes every flower. He certainly cares about every detail of our lives, and wants us to discuss it with Him. But don’t you see, it’s the discussion with Him that’s the important part? The relationship with Him that means we have enough trust and faith in Him to ask His opinion, to ask Him to choose for us. He wants us walking close to Him, He tells us in His Word to pray about everything.
I don’t know if this is true for everyone, but a case for a generality certainly exists that most people tend to take off and not look back when they feel that their lives are under control, that things are going well, that they are blessed and special. Something in us feels that we are certainly due that, for whatever reason. We quickly become complacent and relaxed in our good ‘fortune’. We put God in the back seat, if He makes it into our vehicle at all.
However, when things aren’t going so well, when the stress levels are hovering in the red zone and problems abound, we are more prone to approach Him. We seek Him out; we go to the Source of power, don’t we? And we should! He created the universe and everything and everyone in it, He is aware of everything at all times, He wants us to come to Him, and it makes absolute sense that we do so. But if your son or daughter only came to you when they needed money, time, or other resources, would you feel that you had a good relationship? Would you feel loved? God wants our love. He created us for our love. He wants it enough to die for it.
Our reward in heaven is based on our actions, thoughts, intentions and relationships on this earth. Consider this… when you are blessed with all that the world says are the best things, fame and fortune, beauty and security, are you more likely to dig in and become a true disciple, someone who KNOWS what they believe, and LIVES what they believe, no matter what storms rage in their lives… or are you more likely to coast?
So the next time you are wondering what God might have given you if you had only waited on Him, look around your life. What is God doing with what you have now, and do you really think that you yourself provided all of that? God does want us to live our lives, and not live them in the past, or dreaming of an alternative life that could have, should have, would have happened if only. He wants to show us how He can, how He is working in our lives, jobs, homes, finances, and relationships this very minute. This is it. It’s one time around. Are you getting closer to Him?