Do you ever just want to say “I don’t care”? Not an “I don’t care” that’s apathetic, but an “I don’t care” laced with anger and frustration.
The serenity prayer starts “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” I don’t want serenity and acceptance; I want change. I want God to step up to the plate and fix the things I can’t.
(So I’m typing this on my phone and autocorrect changed God to Food in that last sentence, which is ironic because I tend to use food to avoid the pain, too, and that is something He has given me the power to change.)
My response to my desire for God to fix everything NOW is to impatiently say “I don’t care” in an attempt to mask the pain.
I feel a bit like the Psalmist who often asked “How long, O Lord?” I guess I’m in good company in my impatience with God’s timing. Even the saints under the altar in Revelation 6 cried out to God, wanting to know “How long?” They were told to wait; I am told to wait. In the process of waiting, I’m learning God’s timing is perfect even if I don’t understand it.
Some things never change, or so it seems from my limited point of view. I believe God has a plan, is working in His timing, and will answer my prayers for change. And so like the father of the possessed boy in Mark ch. 9, I exclaim “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 (NIV).
The waiting, I think, is most challenging when you see a glimmer of hope, a sliver of change when a crisis brings someone to the end of their rope. But then the crisis is diverted and you see the change wasn’t all that you thought it was. Or at least it doesn’t seem so on the outside. That’s when I have to remember that God sees the heart; I’m looking only at external factors.
So the next time you hear me say, “I don’t care,” don’t believe it. I care much too deeply and am simply feeling impatient. Perhaps you could remind me that means it’s time to pray and trust.
I could just have easily titled this post God’s Timing Is Perfect, but I want to focus on the real lesson I learned from a recent encounter with God.
Starting about two months ago, every time I would hear the song Beautiful by Mercy Me I would think of a friend and feel a nudge from the Holy Spirit to email a YouTube link to this encouraging song to her. This happened seven or eight times in the course of two months. Each time I didn’t follow through. Until the last time when I replied to God is an exasperated voice (in my head), “Fine, I’ll send her the link.” And I did.
I sent the email on a Friday evening, then worried that maybe I shouldn’t have. I know this person is a Christian, but because of our relationship I wasn’t sure it would be well received. I should have known better with God involved.
On Sunday I received a reply email thanking me for sending the song link and saying that it held a message she needed to hear right then. “Sometimes timing is everything,” she wrote.
This is why I could have titled this little post God’s Timing Is Perfect. But what I learned from this is so much bigger. I learned that God knows me better than I know myself. He knew that I would not follow through on His nudge the first time it came, nor would I do so the second time. In fact, He knew it would take seven or eight nudges before I would throw up my hands in frustration and finally give in.
I believe that God’s hand was in this whole situation. Each time I heard this song it was part of a shuffled playlist on my iPod. My biggest playlist that includes this song has over 450 songs and the smallest has 178, so the odds that this one song would come up so many times were pretty amazing.
I had no idea when would be the right time to share this encouraging song, but God knew exactly when my friend would need it most and what He needed to do to make sure I shared it at that time.
And now I want to share this song with you all today as a reminder that you, too, are beautiful in His eyes.