Our daughter Margi loved school most of the time. Music class was wonderful. Art class, too. She’d always loved books, so she enjoyed English. And recess was fun. But one night, sitting at the kitchen table trying to do her math homework on fractions, she was near tears.
I sympathized. When I was a child, numbers were very mysterious to me, too, so I wasn’t sure I could help her. But I sure could try! I took a piece of paper and drew a circle. “This is a pie, Margi. Let’s cut it into four pieces. See? 1,2,3,4.”
“Let’s take one piece out. How many pieces are left?”
“So this piece we took out is one of four pieces, O.K.? Let’s write it like this: 1/4. And the three pieces still in the pie pan are three of four, so let’s write it like this: 3/4. Understand?”
She shook her head doubtfully.
I drew another circle. “We’re cutting a pie into four pieces. . . .” No, she still didn’t understand. About the time I started drawing a third circle, Margi looked up at me in utter frustration. “Mother, forget the pie and tell me the answer!”
I remember saying something like that to God when I was going through a really tough time. “God, forget the pie, and just tell me the answer.” I was trying to do right, so why didn’t God just give me what I needed?
You may have felt that way sometimes, and then ashamed, because good Christians don’t talk like that to God, do they? Well, yes, they do. Even godly people in the Bible sometimes asked God to cut out the waiting time and just give them the answer. The writer in Psalm 119:81 said, “I am worn out waiting for your rescue.”
But God is a faithful God. He knows when we need the discipline of waiting for His good timing. Because He is a loving Father, He won’t give us the answer until we’ve learned the lesson He knows we need. First Peter 5:9,10 (niv) says it this way:
Stand firm in the faith, because
you know that your brothers throughout the world
are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace,
who called you to His eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while,
Will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Is God doing something in your life you don’t understand? Are you afraid God won’t keep His promises to you? Your Heavenly Father is working things out for your good. Someday you will understand why you had to wait for the answer. Then, “After you have suffered a little while, He will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.”
That little girl who didn’t understand fractions? She did conquer them. When she was a teenager, she was hired to work in a fabric store, where day after day she nonchalantly measured out fabrics for customers, whether they ordered 3/4 of a yard at $9.29 a yard, or 5 7/8 of a yard at $4.95 a yard. But, yes, sometimes she, now a grandmother herself, still has to wait on God until He finishes His good work before He gives her the answer. And, come to think of it, so do I!
A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford