From Learning Patience
The other day I was driving to the library. I’d had a bit of a frustrating and discouraging morning. It had been raining all morning, and as I drove the rain was splattering all over the windshield. I was imagining myself walking into the library (which is not a short walk from the parking lot) at the pace of a snail my three darling children, carrying the monstrous library bag that had like a hundred books in it, and trying to keep my sanity. It wasn’t looking good. But then this thing happened; I thought, “Why don’t I ask God to stop the rain.”
Then I came to my senses and thought, “Now that’s just crazy.”
But I did it anyway. I asked – simply, “God, please, would you mind…I mean…could you…well, I know you could,…but, no…Ok, God, I’d really like it if I could walk into the library with my three young children without getting completely wet and having to pay for library books that were water damaged….um, so, please stop the rain…for just a few minutes…please.”
And I kept driving, because really my faith is that small.
The thing is, God isn’t. He’s not that small, and apparently he hears my prayers.
Because just as I pulled into the parking lot, the rain just stopped. Just like that – stopped.
And we walked into the library without so much as a drop touching us.
Later that same week, I was having a rough day. As I entered Stuff Mart, I was struck by the notion that I could use a little pick-me-up…if I could just figure out what it was that would pick-me-up. It didn’t take me too long to figure out that the thing I would like more than anything else was some fresh strawberries…and cheap. I had been mentally conversing with God all morning, but I didn’t dare ask for that. Then, right then and there I put away those thoughts; there are no cheap strawberries in this part of the world in the middle of winter, and besides there are no strawberries that taste like strawberries this season either. It was a hopeless cause.
I wandered around the store, loading the cart with all of the things we needed for the week. Just as we were leaving, having forgotten about my strawberry dreams, I headed over to get something from the produce section. I shouldn’t have been surprised when I saw strawberries for $1.50…and they weren’t smooshy and gross either. I shouldn’t have surprised when I got them home and tasted them and realized that thy tasted just like the end of May. I shouldn’t have been surprised when I remembered that God answers our prayers, even when we don’t know what to ask for!
I actually wrote those stories a month or so ago; then I promptly forgot about them. Today this interesting thing happened. I have been praying all school-year that God would give me wisdom to know how to use my days, hours, and minutes; I feel so often like they are being gobbled up right before my very eyes. I haven’t figured out the balance between homeschooling and everything else that needs to be done. One of the things I have been trying to figure out is how to spend more time with Dimples. As the resident three year old, he is always around, yet so often what we are doing is at the pace of the older kids. I’ve been longing to spend time with just him, reading the shelf full of little board books to him just like I did his siblings…so I prayed, “God please allow me to figure out how to fit that in too. Please.” And I went on with my day. When Dimples’ nap-time rolled around I realized that Y and Little Man were deeply engaged in an activity, and I had time to take Dimples upstairs, read to him, then put him down for nap. I took his sweet little hand, walked up the stairs at his pace, sat down in the snugly spot that he picked, grabbed a few books and started reading. When I was about halfway through that second book I realized, “Aha! Here it is – a direct answer to my prayers.” I didn’t do it consciously, but I was given the answer to my prayers – some sweet reading time with my youngest boy who is growing up so very fast. And I savored every last second before laying him down and dashing downstairs to continue big kid activities!
No I still don’t understand why there are children in the world who have no parents or why bad things happen. No, I can’t tell you why my grandma went to heaven way before any of us was ready to say good-bye (and I would trade those yummy strawberries to have a day with her at the drop of a hat!), and I can’t explain the mysteries of the universe. But I am sure it all works out somehow, and I am sure God has it all figured out – even the mystery of good strawberries in January!
I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 17:6
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