December 5, 2012
Some children take off sooner and faster than others. My little (6’-6”) brother is 13 years younger than me. One thing I regret is not playing a larger role in his life during his young years. As a teenager I was totally focused on my own struggles, issues, and needs, and saw him as a toy or a mascot to use as needed. My brother had many ups and downs, almost from the get-go. He got kicked out of Catholic school in kindergarten on Ash Wednesday because he didn’t want dirt on his head. My parents tried to raise him to greater heights, but many struggles ensued. If the race had ended in his mid-twenties, in jail and on his way to rehab, he would have been judged a loser … a failure.
Are you a parent of a low-flying child? Let me pass on a word of encouragement. My brother made a shift in his late twenties and is now, by anyone’s standards, a high-flying success: husband in a healthy marriage, father of a great family, master’s degree, teacher and mentor to disadvantaged teens, successful high school football coach, and get this, an inner-city high school disciplinarian. Yes, God does have a great sense of humor. Most importantly, he is a man of deep faith who always finds time shine the Lord’s light onto those around him. At 37 years of age, he holds the admiration and praise of those who know him.
Too often, we put premature finish lines on situations … judging them before all the data is in. But God isn’t bound by time. He is incredibly patient, all-powerful, and has a flair for the dramatic, especially where timing is concerned. Our nature is one of impatience and impulsivity. We don’t tolerate our uncomfortable feelings. We want pain-free living now. We reach for quick but destructive solutions. Don’t fall into Satan’s trap of judging yourself, others, circumstances, or especially God, prematurely. You will be disappointed, but more importantly, you’ll lose out on many “miracles” of life.
Today, if you feel like a failure, or are disappointed, anxious, sad or fearful, examine whether you are imposing a premature finish line on a situation. This puts God in a box and closes the curtain on the play at intermission. Realize that the show, game, path, or race is still in progress. Seek God’s guidance for the next phase of the situation. If you follow Him, trust Him, and practice patience, He will reveal a glorious second act in the drama you were going to abandon prematurely. Waiting for the glorious dramatic ending, or leaving when victory looks impossible is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I pray that all parents reading this devotional receive from You wisdom and patience as they raise their children. Help them to trust Your providence and grace, and to let go of their timelines for their children’s lives. Help us all use Your Son as an example as You patiently waited for His time to come. Father, help us listen to You and obey You in this great calling of parenthood. Then in all areas, help us grow in patience. Help us to see Your big picture, not to prematurely judge the small picture of our lives and bail on You and Your plan for us. Help us all to tolerate those uncomfortable feelings that come in the middle of the play when we don’t know if the hero will win. I pray in the name of the most patient One, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children said – AMEN!
“My time has not yet come.” John 2:4
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:30,31