Mmmmmmm… I love a chai latte.
There’s nothing like a big steaming cup first thing in the morning…especially on a Saturday while I’m still in my jammies!
Last weekend I started making a cup at home. Apparently, I am too cheap to drop a five spot for Starbucks! There, I said it. The truth is out.
While the tea steeps and the milk steams, a “Why?” question starts brewing in my mind.
Picture this: I fill this old glass measuring cup with a pour spout and heat the milk in it. Next, I add some honey. Finally, I pour the milk into the mug, way too quickly, as I anticipate the first creamy sip. And just like every other time, the milk overflows the spout and pours out on the counter, making a big mess!
Here’s the problem: That old measuring cup is not built to pour quickly. When I rush it and ignore the designer’s plan, I don’t get the full measure of the goodness intended. But if I embrace the slow pour, every drop the cup can hold is channeled right where it is most needed and wanted.
The process of pouring and spilling brought to mind the times in my life filled with hard challenges and significant suffering. I would pray for God to come and pour in relief, healing, or sometimes just plain ole’ escape. I wanted it to be delivered immediately and in large measure.
But that is rarely the way God seems to handle these things.
With these thoughts came the question…
“Why? Why does God sometimes pour so slowly?”
Maybe you’ve had the same question bubble out of you? When things are hard, we just want God to fly in like a super hero and save us from our pain, fear or suffering. Why doesn’t He just do that?
Years ago, I had an emotional crisis revolving around a childhood trauma. I now refer to it as “The Great Sadness.” As this crisis began to have real effects on my life and relationships, I cried out to God for help. I hoped He would just fly in and rescue me.
But where I wished for a rescue, God wanted a restoration.
Instead of swooping in, God slowly poured out His goodness and mercy, going by the timing He knew was best. He gave me quiet moments to comfort and heal. Sweet words from Scripture would rise up to meet me. And God sent people to deliver His care; friends, family and a very compassionate counselor named Deanna.
I remember telling Deanna that I wouldn’t need more than six months to “get over this issue.” Obviously, I wanted the quick pour. However, just like my ole’ measuring cup, that is not the way God operates.
Instead, God sent a slow stream of help over the next three years (yup… three years). Not only did God bring a deep healing for The Great Sadness, but He rebuilt my understanding of who He is and how He loves me. He taught me to trust Him. Gently, slowly and patiently. He didn’t waste a single part of the suffering but turned it all into glory.
God’s timing is always perfect. He can’t be anything but perfect; it’s who He is! Likewise, the measure of blessing He pours out is also perfect. Only God knows what will produce the best in us. Just as he knows how to coax the lily from the earth, He knows the timing for our hearts.
This timing --- this “slow pour” --- is exactly long enough to nurture trust and maturity in us, both vital ingredients for a relationship and a future with Him.
Dear friends, listen to God’s voice here as He speaks assurance and invitation over you, just as He speaks it over me:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
I still benefit from those three years of struggle and surrender. My marriage grew deeper. I became a more present mother. God prepared me and then called me into ministry. And God has been glorified each time I tell the story of how He changed “The Great Sadness” into “The Great Victory.”
God’s gift of perfect timing has changed me, heart and soul. More importantly, it gave me a strong and everlasting trust in my faithful Father. And that has been the biggest blessing of all.
May you, too, trust God’s timing and be blessed to the fullest measure.