I hear the shouting of an angry man, a man who seems driven somewhat passionate for what seems like a legitimate cause. The words he’s shouting weren’t clear, until now. This man, who’s only a silhouette at this moment, is walking with steadfast urgency. He’s shouting, “I want to make this hurt, I want this to last in your memory forever…” The silhouette of this man is now evolving into what is a clearer picture. It’s a picture of a man in a baseball cap, t-shirt, and shorts. A man who is bearded and undoubtably angry. A man who intends to use a baseball bat as a weapon. But suddenly, this man stops and he drops his head, his shoulders become weightless. The tight grip he had upon that baseball bat loosens and the bat hits the ground. This man falls to his knees. He cries out for God to forgive him, to remove this anger from his heart. He asks God to provide understanding.
Who is this man?
Will I ever know who is masked behind this anger?
After the fog cleared from my mind the view became crystal clear.
This man is me.
These very thoughts and emotions raced through my mind in recent days as I was visiting family. I wrestled through the thoughts of “How could it be that God would bless these people with kids and not my wife and I.” People who have total disregard for their children, as they are beginning to follow in the footsteps of their drug addicted parents. I often ask, “How could this be?” These anger driven thoughts flooded my mind as I see a new born baby lying on a dirty floor unattended, a female pitbull acting as its caregiver and protector. I see other kids running around, unclothed and dirty, the elder kids being taken care of by family who have problems of their own. As my eyes wander around the room, I notice “dad” in a state of self indulgence and “mom” no where to be found. My mind is racing. How do I not shout out a proclamation to offer protection to these children. To be their safe haven.
My wife and I struggle with infertility. We have battled through this emotional roller coaster for almost 7 years. We have a deep passion to one day become parents, to give our all to the child or children that God would bless us with. So, to see such disregard given to these children, knowing we would take every last one, breaks our heart. But, in these moments we don’t stand defeated! We have confidence in God and we trust in his timing.
I must confess that the desire for the repentance of my mental outburst did not come quickly. It was through prayer and the council of my wife that I absolutely found a need to fall on my knees and ask God to forgive me. What mentally seemed like a plausible idea, was nothing more than spiritual warfare upon my soul. Satan knew that he could use this very difficult situation against me in an attempt to worsen an already devastating home life. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the scars both physically and mentally that these kids already have. I can’t imagine how that would have played out should I have acted upon my thoughts.
The lessons we learn from these situations are often those that create a great deal of self reflection. I can’t summarize all that we have or will learn from this ever evolving circumstance, but God has taught me 3 things that will influence my wife and I’s approach to ministering to our family. Perhaps, you are dealing with a similar situation. Maybe it’s drug abuse, infertility, neglect, or any number of circumstances that you may fall into. Please know that God offers a perfect answer to every situation. We simply need to trust in God’s timing.
1.) I have found it to be imperative that in order to understand Gods’ timing, we must first understand God’s perspective on time. (Read Psalm 75:2) To put it simply, time is duration. Our clocks mark change. More precisely, our timepieces are benchmarks of change that indicate the passage of time. We could say, then, that time is a necessary precondition for change and that change is a sufficient condition to establish the passage of time. In other words, whenever there’s change of any kind, we know that time has passed. We see this as we go through life, as we age. And we cannot recover the minutes that have passed by, no matter how much we may want to.
Additionally, the science of physics tells us that time is a property resulting from the existence of matter. As such, time exists when matter exists. But God is not matter; God, in fact, created matter. The bottom line is this: time began when God created the universe. Before that, God was simply existing. Since there was no matter and because God does not change, time had no existence and therefore no meaning, no relation to Him. As limited human beings, we can’t understand God’s perspective on time. We want everything now, unaware that God’s timing is better. When God is ready, He will do what needs to be done, not what we would like him to do. Just as children have difficulty grasping the concept of time, we too don’t like the ol’ saying “It’s not time yet.” We may be as impatient as children at times, but we must not doubt the wisdom of God’s timing. Wait for God to reveal his plan.
2.) Now that we have a perspective on time, we can get a further glimpse of what trusting in that timing looks like. (Read Luke 3:23) Imagine the Savior of the world working in a small town carpenter’s shop until He was 30 years old. It blows my mind that Jesus would have been content in Nazareth all that time. But, He patiently trusted the Fathers timing for His life and ministry. Like Jesus, we need to resist the temptation to jump ahead before receiving God’s direction. Are you waiting and wondering what your next step should be? Be patient, don’t jump ahead - trust in God’s timing.
3.) I must confess that I am not a mathematician. I often wish that I could return to my grade school days and grasp the fundamentals in order to comprehend the beauty of mathematics. I can’t do that, so I will allow others to ply their skill. (Read Daniel 9:20-27) In 1895, Sir Robert Anderson, a gifted biblical scholar and mathematician, was head of Scotland Yard. He wrote an article in which he calculated the amount of days necessary to fulfill this prophecy in Daniel 9. It came to 173,880 days.
Sometimes I can’t even grasp the idea of waiting longer than a few minutes. To have the faith in waiting for this amount of time seems surreal to me. You see, God’s timing, especially His delays, make us think He is not listening to us or is not answering the way that we want. But we must trust in knowing that He will meet all of our needs according to His perfect schedule and purpose. (Phil 4:19) Patiently await His timing.
Through these humbling moments, God sits us down for a lesson. He teaches us that He has something much better than we could ever imagine. He teaches us that if we trust in Him, that He will provide. It’s in those moments that our frustrations fade, our anger disappears and we begin to think about the time we have with these kids and with people in general.
Are we leveraging every opportunity that we have to be a light in a dark world? Do people see God in us, in our actions, and in our attitudes? My outburst of rage would have only accomplished broken hearts and prison time. So are these the moments that we share what God has done in our lives? Do we share about the things that we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20)? Do we strive to give every ounce of love that we have to each individual we are in contact with regardless of the situation? These questions are hard to grasp in difficult situations such as the one I had described. But to know that God writes our blueprint provides hope. God offers each one of us a hope that we can only find in Him. A perfect hope that is flawless and cushioned with love and grace. Why should I ever assume it would be acceptable to not offer the same love that God has given me?
I’m thankful for the moments of reflection that God offers me. I’m thankful that God provides restraint when I don’t have any on my own. I’m humbled at the fact that God is in control, even though I may think I am, I’m not. I would invite you to make time for an intentional pause in your life. A moment of reflection where you are able to stand back and evaluate tough situations. When you do that, hit your knees in prayer. Ask God to guide you. You cannot do this on your own. You do not have the restraint to pull back, only God does. We must make it a matter of faith and fact that we trust in God’s timing.