Last fall, my husband and I met each other for lunch and made a spontaneous decision to go to a NASCAR race over the weekend. The quick weekend away was so fun and exactly what our hearts needed.
During the race, we were seated next to a dad and his two boys. The boys looked like they were somewhere between 8-10. I tend to people watch quite a bit at sporting events, so I was watching how the dad interacted with his boys.
As the race started, I watched the boys ask their dad for something, and the dad simply shook his head no. As the race went on, the boys continued to ask, and each time, their dad would say no. Every time the boys were told no, they would sit down grumpily. Every few laps, this same pattern occurred.
Finally, after what felt like the 10th time the boys asked, the dad pulled a bag of Twizzlers out of his backpack. As he handed the bag to the smiling boys, he held up one finger. Race tracks are loud, and the boys had ear protection on, so they must have assumed their dad meant they could only have one Twizzler. So each boy took one Twizzler and handed their dad the bag. The dad smiled big, grabbed each boy’s Twizzler and handed them back the entire bag.
This exchange brought tears to my eyes. I saw myself in those boys, and I saw the love of my Heavenly Father in the way the dad loved those boys.
I have asked God for a lot of different things over the years. Babies, financial blessings, healing, and so much more. There have been many times that God has said “not yet” and I have pouted through life. As I watched the boys sit in the stands grumpily, I wondered how much of the race the boys were missing. That race was a once in a lifetime event. Sure, the boys could go back to the track again, but they could never see that race again. How many times have I missed out on once-in-a-lifetime adventures because I refuse to focus on the present? Oftentimes, I get so focused on what I want that I miss out on what I have.
Even though the boys’ actions made me wonder if they were missing the race, I quickly realized they weren’t missing much. After being told no, they were pouting a little, but they never once cried or threw a fit. They sat down with a grumpy look on their faces, but they brushed it off quickly. After a few laps, they asked their dad again. I wonder how many times I have thrown fits or stopped asking God for His blessings because I was upset with His timing not being what I thought it should be.
Finally, when the boys thought their dad was saying only one Twizzler, they happily took one Twizzler without realizing that their dad was offering them the entire bag! How many times have I hung so tightly to a small gift from God and missed that He was actually trying to give me a much larger gift? Our God is a God of abundance; He works in big ways.
Romans 8:24-25 says this in the Passion Translation:
For this is the hope of our salvation. But hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen. For why would we need to hope for something we already have? So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment.
I love the reminder found in this verse. I don’t know anything about those boys and their dad. I don’t know if the boys watched their dad buy the Twizzlers or put them in his backpack. However, I imagine the boys knew their dad was going to give them Twizzlers at some point because they knew their dad’s character.
Just as those boys could trust their dad, I know I can trust and wait for the unseen because I know my Heavenly Father’s character. I know He loves me. I know His plan is a good one that will not hurt me. I know He won’t tease me. Because I know who my Heavenly Father is, I can keep waiting patiently.
Today, if you find yourself grumpy at your unanswered prayers or frustrated with the way that God is answering, I encourage you to take a step back and remember who your Father is. He sees you, He hears you, and He cares. You can trust Him.
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This is an updated edition of a post originally published on borderless.blog