They were just beautiful. A brand new pair of flipflops still held together by the plastic tie and price tag. My nine year old eyes took in their white soles with pink and blue ribbons that would stretch across my toes. They were pristine and perfect. Mom cut the price tag off and I slipped my feet in. I wiggled my toes and marveled at my new “shoes”. Gorgeous. Immediately, I wanted to show them off. So I skipped outside, getting used to the way they felt on my feet. I looked in the barn, but Dad wasn’t there. I wandered around the farm for a while, trying to figure out just where he was, but finally figured out he must be in the field planting. No matter, these shoes were worth the walk. I stood at the edge of the field and noticed the freshly turned soil. Carefully I pressed my nifty new sandal on the top of a ridge, watching it sink down. Going slowly so as not to do too much damage to my new shoes, I made my way into the field. For several minutes I went slowly, and then my patience began to run out. My steps grew quicker. Little pieces of dirt slipped in underneath my toes and got wedged in between my foot and my flipflops. I would shake them free only to repeat the process a few steps later. I discovered if I ran, hopped almost, I could avoid most of the shifting dirt that would pile onto my foot if I went slowly. So I started to hop and jump and run across the field. I made it quite a ways before my mom appeared at the now distant edge of the field. She yelled for me to come back, which I did regretfully. Then she told me Dad wasn’t in that field, he was at the other farm place planting. When I got back to the house I could see that my journey had cost me - my shoes were no longer the gleaming beautiful new shoes they were only minutes earlier. Smudged with dirt, they showed the outline of my toes. Scrub as I may, they would never be pristine and perfect again. I learned a valuable lesson that day - that sometimes it just better to wait. Rushing into things can lead to disappointment...and dirty new shoes. I wished I had just waited till Dad came home that night to show him my pretty new shoes. They would have been prettier. Now they looked like all my other shoes - worn.
Waiting isn’t easy. Waiting can make it seem like your life is standing still while the world around you moves at break-neck speeds. Waiting seems like such a complete and utter buzzkill. You want that, and you want it now. Not tomorrow. Not next month. Not next year. NOW.
Sometimes waiting isn’t our choice. So often we can do everything possible on our end of the equation and God simply says, “Not yet.” And we’re left to stand there and say, “But why? I’ve done everything I’m supposed to! Don’t I deserve this? Don’t you love me enough to give this to me now!? What awesome lesson am I supposed to learn, because I’ll go out and learn it this minute!” And so we sit there trying to “learn” everything there is to learn about being patient. But the lesson isn’t always about patience. The lesson is about waiting. That it may never make sense to us, but He wants us to wait. And He wants us to see how He waits with us.
Today, I hosted a baby shower for two very good friends. Two very good friends who KNOW what it means to wait. Who walked a similar road to mine only a few short years ago. And in a room where there are pictures of my sweet little girl here and there - her smiling face, her shining eyes, her soft fuzzy head - I remembered very clearly those 2 1/2 years of waiting. As I watched Angie and Teresa open their gifts - tiny little washcloths, tiny little onesies, tiny little diapers - I thanked and praised God that through all their waiting those two women had never lost sight of the fact that He was there waiting with them. He had held them when they cried, comforted their anxious hearts, and rejoiced (REJOICED!!!) when their prayers were answered. As much as I can’t wait to meet these two little ones, I can’t wait for them to meet their mommies and daddies! I can’t wait for their little eyes to open for the first time and look back into the faces of love staring back at them. Parents who have prayed for a long time to hold their precious child.
Its not that God isn’t faithful to people who can’t have children. Its not that God just decides who is worthy of having a baby and who isn’t. Its not that certain people are rewarded or that they already learned all the lessons waiting is meant to teach us. Its that our awesome and powerful and almighty God, LOVES us through the waiting. I praise Him today, not just because He gave little babies to these two beautiful women, but also because He never left their side.