What’s Taking Soooo Long?

For several weeks now, my teenage son walks in the door after school and greets me with the same question, “Did my music CD arrive?”

I shake my head, and watch him sort through the mail as he grumbles, “It should have been here by now.”

Forget snail mail, my son wants to know if the company sent me an email explaining the status of the CD he ordered.

“No word.”

“What’s taking so long?”

  I’ve asked God that same question.

 “Lord, I prayed about this matter weeks ago…………What’s taking so long?

 I sort through God’s Word, searching for His answer.  I pray and fast so God knows I mean business. I claim Luke 11:5-13 where Jesus tells us to keep on asking; I’m not trying to be a pain.

But sometimes I wait so long, the weeks turn into months, and even years ……………without a response.

Does God’s silence on the subject mean NO or NOT YET?

I cross my fingers and pray again, hoping the answer is a delayed affirmation; that it may be later than sooner, but I’ll get what I want. Sounds like the brat in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory who wants the golden egg, and she wants it NOW!

Oswald Chambers once wrote, “Are you prepared to ask yourself what it is you want from God and why you want it? God always ignores your present level of completeness in favor of your ultimate future completeness. He is not concerned about making you happy right now, but He’s continually working out His ultimate perfection for you.”

There’s that word perfection again and my need (not want) to submit to God’s perfect plan for my life. “And let endurance (perseverance) have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:4)

My son comes home and tosses junk mail on the kitchen counter. The disappointment on his face tugs my heartstrings. And I realize, it’s easier to pray “Thy will be done” in my life, than watch “His will be done” in my children’s lives.

 But that’s another story……………

I Love the Imperfection

Last week, I went into an antique store to browse old furniture. The man who worked there showed me a handmade fireplace mantel. He pointed to the scratches in the wood, and the uneven design along the front. Then he caressed a round, black stain on top of the mantel where a wet glass or candle had stood.

“I love the imperfection of it,” he said.

“What did you say?” 

“I love the imperfection,” he repeated, “because that’s what makes antique furniture unique and have character.”

Unique is not a word I’d use to describe the queen-sized bed frame I recently bought. It was manufactured in China, came in a cardboard carton, assembled by yours truly, and seemingly without defect … unlike the reflection of imperfection that stared back at me from a hazy, antique mirror.

I combed my hair with my fingers and left the store asking myself, do I love the imperfection in myself or others?

Absolutely not! I’ve been programmed from birth to look my best, be my best, and do my best.

Imperfection, the flawed condition of humanity, hides behind good intentions and exasperation. “I’m sorry, but I’m doing the best I can!”

But my very best falls short of the commandment to “Be perfect just as my Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Why would a holy, perfect God love me; the poster child of imperfection?

I try to wrap my mind around His love and grace, but imperfect emotions distort my vision. I return to His Word where truth resides:

And put my faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”(2 Corinthians 5:21)

Earthly perfection is impossible this side of heaven. But like the Apostle Paul, I can be “confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in us will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 1:6)

IF I rest in that knowledge, I can stop striving to be perfect, and instead, “fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith….so that we will not grow weary and lose heart.”(Hebrews 12: 2,3)

Since my visit to the antique shop, I have enjoyed the warmth of a crackling fire on a winter’s day. The polished wooden mantelpiece is smooth to my touch; it is not old or unique. But the words of a stranger, “I love the imperfection,” stirs my heart because it shows me how God “whose way is perfect” used even this to bring Himself praise.

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