I recently found a file of different things I had written years ago. I was struck by some notes I had written in the margin for a teaching I had given. Though I didn't date these papers, I am guessing from reading through this that Hannah was about 7 when I wrote it (she is now 20).
As the story goes, we were getting ready to go to Wichita, which is just about an hour and a half drive from where we live. Over the years, that drive has seemed shorter and shorter but when we had young children I always packed reinforcements for that type of a journey. In this particular case, Hannah knew that I had packed snacks and while we were still in our driveway asked if she could have something. I laughed and told her to wait until we got on the road. We backed out of the driveway and she asked again, claiming that we were now "on the road." Children's literal interpretations of what we tell them could fill volumes and are often the funniest stories to retell. Though this story seems like a silly illustration, I must admit that now that I think about it, it is probably not unlike how I am with God.
As a parent, I knew how long that "journey" was. In fact, on long vacation drives, I used to pack little lunch bags or gift bags with a surprise or a treat and give them to our girls at regular intervals. It added a bit of anticipation and excitement and cut down on some of the 'are we there yets?' I must admit, however, that I am not unlike Hannah. I understand that this journey has been planned and preparations have been made. I may ask for something and I am told to wait. Two minutes later, I remind Him that we're "on the road!" Each of us has an unspoken, yet definitive expectation of what God should do. So what do we do when He does not do what we think He should do?
It was not wrong for Hannah to ask me for something. We are her parents and we do not take our responsibility to provide for her lightly. However, we also know what's best for her (though she may dispute that with each passing year). I know that it's not easy to fix our eyes on the unseen or to trust plans we're not privvy to. But on this road of life, and our walk of faith, that seems to be what is required of us.
The great thing is, we're given little goodie bags along the way. A gorgeous day, a faithful friend, a yummy dessert, beautiful scenery or an unexpected kindness. Glimpses of a much bigger picture. Abundance. It can tide us over and even keep our eyes off of the storms that we see looming ahead in the distance.
As we celebrate Mother's Day this weekend, I am thankful for the joy that my mom gave to me for this journey. For the optimism, for the strength, for the delight in small things, for teaching me to build and treasure friendships. Each a landmark on this journey called life. I encourage you to take some time to thank your mom too!
Happy Mother's Day!