Every time my husband and I bring our three young boys to the beach (or on any outing, really), the getting-ready basically plays out the same way. We wait until just before departure to tell them where we’re going because otherwise we get an umpteen-jillion questions about when we’re leaving. They streak through the dining room screaming “THE BEACH! THE BEACH!” until I’ve hollered forty-three times to get some UNDERWEAR ON.
Chad asks how he can best help “the process.”
“Just get them in the car,” I plead, and then I whirl around looking for all the THINGS we need to make this trip a success. Diapers, wipes, spare clothes, snacks, toys, sunscreen, life jackets – you know.
I know you know.
Usually, at least one kid comes back in to “pee,” (aka interrogate me) as I gather the goods.
“Get back in the car, Sweetie. Buckle up and take a few breaths. I’m doing something. I’ll be there soon.”
I zip. I snap. Haul and load. Climb into the car, already sweating.
Cue little boys: “Where WERE you, Mom? What TOOK you so long? We’ve been waiting for one-hundred-and-forty-three hours!”
“I was getting all the things we need for the day.” Then I insert some other short, pointless lecture, I mean pep talk, that I’ve given dozens of times about patience, gratitude, and on and on.
“Go on without me next time!” I tease. “I hope you don’t need any snacks, drinks, swim trunks, squirt guns, or sand toys!”
Someday, I’ve just GOTTA BELIEVE that they’ll realize how much better their every experience is because of the behind-the-scenes prep work from someone who loves them and wants to make their day the BEST day. They’ll appreciate the icy cold grapes from the cooler, or the comfy evening ride home in dry jammies with a cup of milk in their hands…
But right now, they’re two, three, and six, and they just know they want to GET there. They’re envisioning the destination while I’m still locating the sunscreen.
They don’t want to WAIT.
I remember that wait. I remember asking my mom those SAME questions, and getting the SAME explanation in response. I remember just not getting it.
It was hard.
It IS hard.
We adults don’t want to wait either — for the call after the interview, or the counteroffer on the house. The assignment. The relocation. The raise. The weight loss results or biopsy results or pregnancy test results.
We would like some information, please. Like, now.
You there, God? Did you get that last request? Let me know your thoughts, God. No, really, I’m listening. A little louder, please.
And just like my kids, who don’t understand that someone is busting a hump on their behalf so that their lives and experiences will be safe and rewarding, I, too, grow restless.
I, too, question.
Where are you, God? What is taking you so long? I’ve been waiting one-hundred-and-forty-three hours.
Much like my spiel to three antsy kids in a minivan, I can probably guess with fair accuracy how God would respond to me in those moments…
While you are waiting, I am working in your favor. You may not see me or hear me, but that doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned you. It means I am DOING SOMETHING.
Because I love you. Because I want you to experience the best. This is going to be great, but you’ve gotta settle down. (And put some underwear on, okay?)
Buckle up. Take some breaths. Keep on doing what I’ve asked you to do.
We’ll get there. I promise you, we will.
Waiting isn’t fun, but it isn’t something we can avoid either. Instead of viewing the wait as a pointless hassle, maybe we could receive it as an opportunity to practice faith and trust as we keep our eyes fixed on the path before us — the path that ultimately leads to our perfectly-prepared destination.