One morning, about four months ago, I noticed my son in their room trying to scribble on a book. He was having a hard time with it because as I quickly noticed, the lead at the tip of his pencil had broken off. I took the pencil away from him to sharpen it for him.
He quickly came after me and started throwing the kind of tantrum only an almost-two-year old can pull off. Crying and stamping his feet, he insisted that I give it back. I didn’t say a word to him as I continued sharpening the pencil. As soon as I was done, I gave it back to him and the crying ceased immediately. Looking at the pencil, he quickly noticed the difference, rewarded me with “tan tan” and went back to his book.
There are a number of things that I am waiting for. Some of them are dreams which are really important to me so I’m excitedly looking forward to them coming to life. Others are little irritations that I can’t wait to do away with.
A week later, I had a reason to think about one of those important dreams that hasn’t been birthed as well as a few of those minor irritations that I still had to deal with. In my mind, I stamped my feet and railed against the circumstances that were annoying me at the time. I heard that unmistakable Voice try to calm me but I closed off my heart from listening. Somehow, at that moment, the big dream and the minor irritations all seemed tied together. I forgot that the dream was work-in-progress and would soon come to life by His grace. I also forgot that I have always been able to deal with those minor irritations because of Him who continually gives me strength.
In a snit, I started with my chores. I wanted to be left alone too till my head was sane again. As I worked, some of that red haze cleared and I realized that just like my son had done earlier, I had been throwing a tantrum, as well. Our methods may have been different. But, just like he had done, I had acted tired of waiting. I had also forgotten that I knew a little of what the bigger picture is. The realization that I had been wrong cleared up the remaining haze and I saw that while throwing a tantrum, some of the things I had been irritated by are actually my most major blessings. At that point, I was filled with remorse.
A lot of the time, when we want something, we want it immediately. When we realize that whatever it is that we want is just not happening as quickly as we want it to, we stamp our feet and just let everything else suffer. In our misery, we act like without whatever it is we are waiting for, our lives are just unbearable.
In my little boy’s case, he didn’t know what the bigger picture was. I didn’t even try to explain it to him because I knew that whether he understood it, at that point, or not, I was actually working things out for his own good.
Maybe an explanation might have helped him handle the situation better, I would never know now.
Maybe, even if I had explained, he would have still insisted on having his broken pencil just as it was. That wouldn’t have been a surprise because that’s how we all are, at one point or the other.
Everyone has something they are waiting for. Sometimes, as in my case this morning, we have an idea of what the big picture would look like but that doesn’t prevent us from wishing that the Artist would be done quickly with that painting. We often do not realize that it’s not just a haphazard process of flinging paint unto a canvass. It’s a careful process that involves a careful selection of beautiful colours and appropriate tools.
Oil paints are expensive paints which allow for a demonstration of great detail. Before they can be used for a painting, the canvass has to be primed first and even after the painting is done, it takes a longer drying-time than if water-based paints had been used. However, the result is very impressive and also stands the test of time.
Work doesn’t also end as soon as the painting is done. The Artist has to clean up the paint from unwanted places. Only then can His job be truly done.
Only the Artist can interpret the picture in His heart unto the canvass. So, no matter how much we stamp our feet, we can never take over His job as He patiently working out the kinks to ensure that the beautiful picture He’s painting stands the test of time.
Waiting to have that miracle baby?
Waiting for a new career to kick off?
Waiting for someone else to recognize that you are the one for them?
Waiting for that house to be completed?
Waiting for that spouse to remember how much they had once loved you?
Waiting for that phase of life to be over so that you can move on to the next?
When we hire anyone to do some work for us, it’s usually because we think that they are the best we can afford at the time. It is also because we trust and expect them to do a more than decent job. So, if we are sure that the One who is in charge of our affairs holds the world in the palm of His hands, what’s not to trust, really?
A genuine smile doesn’t just start and end on the lips. It comes from somewhere deep within and spreads light and warmth everywhere it falls on. Whatever it is you are waiting for, don’t let the world steal your beautiful smile. That may just be the only weapon you have that would help you wait better.
Remember, the reason it’s taking so long to be done may be that He’s making an oil-painting for you.
He may still be priming the canvass that is you.
He may still be carefully applying these expensive paints in colours that would light you up.
He may even have finished the painting but is still not done with the work because He is cleaning up now with the best materials… Only for you.
That same day, the lead of my son’s pencil broke off again and he brought it to me to sharpen. This time, he didn’t cry at all….Another lesson learnt.