Looking for more

I was working on some ad concepts the other day, and, not satisfied with the ideas I had, I ran them by a friend, sort of talking them through to figure out what I was doing. She looked at me and said, “I tried on hundreds of wedding dresses but ended up buying the second one I tried. You’re a lot like that, too, aren’t you? I think these are already finished; you just don’t know it yet.”

I laughed, but the comment has been on my mind ever since. Why do we do that? We find what we want and don’t want to settle, or don’t want to commit, or think it was too easy, and so we waste countless hours re-examining things, looking for something marginally better. I think sometimes we do this with God, too. When we first discover Him, we have something good, but we think it’s supposed to be better — we’re supposed to be more disciplined, or pray more, or read the Bible more, or hear from Him more — so instead of reveling in what we have, we keep looking for more. We are afraid of the ways in which our relationship with Him is lacking, so we explore and examine it and criticize it. But finally, if we’re lucky, we recognize what an amazing thing we had. And when we go back to Him, we find He’s been there waiting for us all along.

Baking up delight

I don’t know what it is that makes it so fun to them, but kids seem to love to bake. For years, my children have come wandering in to my office holding boxes of cake mix or brownies, wanting to make something. I don’t think it’s just that they’re hungry for sweets; it’s the process they enjoy. Working alongside me, cracking eggs, pouring oil, the powdery cloud of flour that rises when you pour the mix into the bowl and start stirring, the delight when you turn on the oven light and see what’s happening. And the absolute joy when you pull the pan out of the oven and find it’s no longer a gloppy, runny mixture of messy ingredients, but a firm, golden, spongy cake.

The other night when I was praying, I realized that’s what God does: He lets us help Him cook. He asks for our prayers even though He doesn’t need our opinions about how things should be done and He doesn’t require our assistance. He is perfectly capable of making decisions on His own, measuring out justice and mercy and grace, and doing it all without making a mess. But when we come to Him in prayer, He’s allowing us to be a part of the process. It’s easier for Him when we’re not there to get in the way. It’s faster when we’re not bumbling around in the middle. And it’s much neater when we’re not there to drop things or grab the wrong ingredients. But the delight on our faces when we see what comes out of the oven—when we see prayers answered and hearts healed and lives changed and love prevailing, when we know that we were privileged to be allowed to be a part of it, and that even though we weren’t necessary to the process, He loves us enough to want us working alongside Him—well, I think that’s why He does it.

Almost here

According to my mom, when I was little and anxiously awaiting someone’s arrival, I would stand at the window and say “I almost see them coming!” I wanted to see them so badly that I just knew they had to be coming — almost. They must be right on the other side of the hill. Almost there, and all I had to do was wait. And if I hoped hard enough, and stared at the horizon long enough, it would happen. Sooner rather than later.

As adults, we can lose that sense of expectation. We become jaded, less willing to believe that what we’re waiting for is just around the corner. We think there must have been an accident, that someone got hurt, that the car ran out of gas, that the person got lost, that we could never rely on them to leave on time so they’re not really just over the crest of the hill, but they’re probably still miles and miles away.

At the women’s conference I just attended, someone taught that God has already said the Amen to our miracles. “Amen” means “so be it,” and the Lord has declared the answer, has provided the end to that time of need or suffering or pain. The reason time periods are mentioned over and over in the Bible is to remind us that everything has a time. There is a finite season for each trial, so of course there is always an end.

What that tells me is this: my miracle is not lost. It is not derailed by any kind of trouble, and it is not late in coming. It is right where it is supposed to be, and it is on its way. My job right now is to watch for it. To sit at the window, looking ahead, expecting, knowing that my miracle is just past the crest of the hill, and if I wait right there, it WILL arrive. Right on time.

Celebrating!

Mom called a little while ago. She got a call with the results of her latest scans -- NO CHANGES. The cancer has not started growing. She is still in remission. Cancer-free! Thank you, Lord!!!