In Matthew 7:11 and again in Luke 11:13 the Bible does a quick comparison of a parent giving to their child and God giving to His children.
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11
Our little girls are small – and so we have limited experience with giving gifts to our children that are fun. But Grace’s birthday present was the notable exception. We bought her a playhouse and I hope to never forget the day Justin and I, with her “help,” assembled this gift. Our sweet little girl squealed for about an hour – during the entire assembly process and afterwards while playing in her house. Every word was at a higher pitch as she exclaimed over every detail of the house over and over again. It was hilarious. Justin and I kept looking at each other and grinning because we’d never seen her so excited.
This morning I feel a little bit like Grace. I just need to squeal a little bit about the incredible gifts the Lord has given me and my husband. I came across some of my old journals and books a few weeks ago – and in reading through them I saw a list of things I had asked the Lord for in my life. Without fail, the Lord has exceeded every request on my list. I had asked for a place of ministry, for a husband, for a home to share with him, for mutual ministry and like hearts with him. I had even asked some specific questions about debt and the Lord freed us from that as well. I didn’t ask for children on that list but the Lord has given us two beautiful daughters. I remember showing Justin the list in amazement. God has been very good to me.
Last week I heard a message by Steven Furtick on the attributes of God. That He is a great God (powerful) and that He is a good God (trustworthy). He talked about how Abraham could trust God because he looked in the past and God had done amazing things – so it gave him assurance that the same God who worked those things out would work out anything else he faced. That resonated with me.
All of these prayers and burdens of my heart from when I wrote that list – seemingly so insurmountable – God provided and blessed me over and above what I expected. I am so thankful. And of course I can trust Him with my future.
In the past year – Justin and I have made our desire for him to be in fulltime Worship ministry a matter of prayer. That is the daily prayer of my heart – not even verbalized usually but many moments each day thinking “Jesus please provide this for us.” And the Lord has taken His time answering that prayer. In the beginning I would feel desperate in that need and I couldn’t understand why He would tarry. But now as I look back on the past year – I am so thankful. So many things in us that needed to be healed have been healed. The Lord has used this time of waiting on Him to draw us closer to Himself, to each other, and to grow each of us tremendously. Spiritually we have grown. Relationally we have grown. Even Justin’s ability as a musician has grown.
In the past few months the Lord has given Justin places to play 3 or 4 times a week – playing everything from Worship music to disco to pop to country. He has been asked to go to Croatia with an incredibly talented group of professional musicians to serve the Lord through mission work. He has arranged several projects for multiple publishers doing everything from children’s music to music for a ladies retreat. His natural gift is being tested and he is practicing and growing in expertise everyday. I feel like the Lord has set Him apart for Himself and in the meantime, sent him chances to grow and excel in preparation for something incredible.
And the Lord has grown me. When we first got married I truthfully feared him ever getting a church without me. I have worked fulltime in a church setting for so many years – I was anxious about following his calling. I love my work – love being a part of a church staff. The thought of him working somewhere serving and me not “officially” being a part of that terrified me. And the thought of us moving away was another thing I was incredibly hesitant to even consider. But in the past few years, the Lord has removed that fear. I know that wherever we are called – the Lord will have gone before. And He will have a ministry for me – even if it is a ministry to my sweet girls and to my husband. And I am content in that. The Lord has done a work in my heart and in the process, he has united me even closer to this man He gave me to marry (Genesis 2:24).
And so we look back on how faithful the Lord has been. And we look forward and ask the Lord for a good gift. We know from the past and from our limited experience as parents that the Lord delights in giving His children good gifts. So we wait on the Lord. And we know that this time of waiting is serving a great purpose in our lives… it is not wasted time. However long it takes, we commit to wait on the Lord in gratitude.