Sometimes I ask God the second way. I don’t like to wait for answers to my prayers. Does anyone?
When our son Chris was in college, I drove him home to see his brother march at a high school football game. On the way to the high school, the cars came to a complete stop. No cars were moving on the highway. It became evident we would not make it to the game on time.
In sheer frustration, I reported, “Well, we’re stuck in a traffic jam.”
He replied with glee, “My first traffic jam!”
That familiar inconvenience was a new and exciting adventure for Chris. All the sights and sounds fascinated him. He delighted in the sounds of sirens whirring past us. The people getting out of their cars and the people in the oncoming cars gawking at the scene intrigued him. So, I opened up my lunchbox and we enjoyed some leftover snacks. And prayed for the accident victims.
Okay, so it’s possible to enjoy waiting in a traffic jam. But, how can mothers of children with mental illness (MI) be happy about waiting for restored joy and peace? How long must we wait for our child to have clarity of thought?
What does God think about our impatience? As parents, we know how annoying it can be. When traveling, children often ask “Are we there yet?” When heard incessantly, it can feel like TORTURE.
Now imagine a trip that takes 40 years to arrive at the destination. That’s how long it took the people of Israel to reach the land God promised them. Imagine the parents hearing their children ask, “Are we there yet?”
Thankfully, God doesn’t get annoyed when we bombard Him with daily questions. “When will You restore my child’s sweet personality? When will You heal my marriage? When will my life be normal again?…”
When God delays his answer, we can react in our usual impatience. Or we can respond like Chris did in the traffic jam. It could become an adventure of looking for the mixed blessings and lessons we might learn along the way.
In our weariness, our heavenly Father coaches us with His pep talk from Psalm 27:14. “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!”
Children are good at asking for what they want. In fact, they’re good at DEMANDING what they want. In spite of the same denial, a young child will ask to do something repeatedly. Finally, in desperation the child will plead, “Please. I’m begging you!” Sometimes the child will ask, “Why not? Why can’t I…?”
A parent doesn’t always want to give an answer. The answer may lead to an argument. So, the parent replies, “Because I said so.” Our no’s don’t mean we don’t love our child. Often it’s in our child’s best interest to say no. “No, you can’t stay up all night. No, you can’t have five cookies. No, you can’t date when you’re only 13.”
At times, we’re the same way. Waiting and hoping for something. Asking God again and again. Pleading with Him. “Please God. I’m begging You!”
Waiting is too hard. We ask, “Why not?” Inside we sulk. How can God’s “no” or “not yet” be in our best interest? Why would God have us wait to see our child’s mental stability restored? Why would He make us wait to see our child joyful once again? While seeking those answers, we might miss what He’s giving: comfort, strength, an eternal perspective…
Moms can’t be happy unless their kids are happy. How we desperately want our child with mental illness to be happy!
While hoping for the thing you most desire, hope also in God. Good self-talk would sound like, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” (Psalm 42:5, Psalm 42:11, Psalm 43:5)
Mental reminders of His promises will restore peace while waiting. Tell yourself, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)
What are you waiting for?