I am Veruca Salt.
You may remember her, the spoiled girl in the red suit who wants everything at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, and she wants it NOW! Being a minor character, her insatiable selfish desires result in her demise down the furnace chute. Her atrocious behavior and untimely departure is instructive for all of us, even us adults who don’t believe that we are being Veruca.
I don’t want to be Veruca; nobody does. And yet I feel the Lord’s firm chastening:
You ARE behaving like her.
It’s as if I’ve been living the mantra, “I’ve got the golden ticket, this tour is great, but I just want the grand finale and my lifetime supply of chocolate NOW.”
God responds with, “Wait, be patient, be satisfied, be blessed, I am enough.” Why?
Because He isn’t Willy Wonka, salvation isn’t chocolate, and there IS enough of Him to go around.
And my immediate response is, “Yes, yes, yes, I know. But I want it NOW!” Cue the immediate dejavu of dealing with my children, and I’m struck once again by the realization that He is God and I am NOT. I need Him to give me the humility to accept this fact so that I can have the life abundant He promises.
Someone once said to me, “Never ask God to teach you patience;” yet now I think that’s exactly what He does through the working of His will and the countless times He says “WILL” and “WAIT” in the Bible.
“The Lord WILL fulfill His purpose for me” – Psalm 138:8
“Be still in the presence of the Lord and WAIT patiently for Him to act.” – Psalm 37:7
“I remain confident of this: I WILL see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. WAIT for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and WAIT for the Lord.” – Psalm 27:13-14
These are just 3 of the quotes on my office board from Psalms, and there are so many more out there, of God telling us to just wait.
Ouch! Those 4-letter “W” words are SO painful and opposed to the human condition. I don’t like waiting and I don’t want to be still!
Flawed human nature fuels our impatience and drives us to try and push God’s plan along (Sarai?), and gets frustrated when God’s plan doesn’t unfold as we think it ought (Jonah?).
Just because we win the “golden ticket” in responding to the call of Jesus as Lord and Savior, we do not find automatic relief from the myriad of difficulties that this life has. It’s impossible to turn off our base nature, even though we confess publicly that we submit to God’s will. The impatient child in us cries out, “What?! I thought I was accepting the golden ticket, the life abundant and peace that surpasses all understanding. Where is all that? I want to get there NOW!”
It makes me wonder if, maybe, even after accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we still have much to learn.
I keep hoping and praying for the promises to come to fruition – mercy, grace, justice, and righteousness. But I’m impatient – Why can’t it happen now, on my timeline? Why does God want me to learn patience?
I’m reminded of the terribly aggravating technique of great rabbis: good questions pointing to Truth.
Who is my Lord?
Who works everything for good, for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose?
Who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think?
If Jesus Christ is my Lord, then I had better put these thoughts on and put my feelings off.
So what do I put on, in place of the things I am putting off?
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:3-8.
It’s wonderful to know this Truth, through the Word, and its faithfulness to someone as unworthy as me.
Because “I cry out to God most high, to God who fulfills His purpose for me,” (Psalm 57:2) I am going to cling ever more tightly to Him with this as my newest way-point on the journey Homeward.
What verses and promises to you cling to during times of waiting and questioning?
Sarah Schwennesen is a USAF Reservist and mother to three fantastic children, a perfect pooch and a chubby cat. She now calls Ft. Leavenworth home. She was blessed to be baptized at the Post Chapel on 20 November 2016 surrounded by her spiritual family.
** Photo by: Kristin Hathaway.