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Posts Tagged ‘waiting’


Addition, division, subtraction and multiplica...

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Even though the school year is winding down, my son has been working hard to keep his grades up with more than a little prodding from mom.

The seventh grade has been rough scholastically, presenting challenge after challenge to the way he wants to do his schoolwork and the way he needs to do it. The one subject he seems to keep on struggling with is Algebra, and, the issue seems less about his inability to do the work and more about the way he does it.

In other words, he keeps on insisting that he can do it the way he wants to do it, not the way he needs to. This centers around his insistence that he doesn’t need to write out all the steps when he’s working out an Algebraic problem. And, sometimes he’ll even insist that he doesn’t need to write out the equation. Then when he solves the problem the way he wants to, he’s shocked when he gets a problem wrong. What shocks me is that he actually gets a fair amount of the problems correct.

The challenge for me this year is to try and help him change the way he thinks about Algebra, along with any of the other subjects where he has an insistent mindset about how they should be done.

My mom, who has a lot of wisdom, has always said if you think you’re going to tell a child something once, twice or even half a dozen times and they’re going to get it, you’re deluding yourself. If you want them to learn something you have to keep on repeating yourself, saying the same thing over and over again until it sinks in, which may take years. So, you might as well not get too upset about it, just do it.

I’ve had a lot of instances to think about that wisdom this year as I keep on telling my son, ‘You have to write out the equation. Then you have to write every step of the equation, because if you do something wrong then you have a better chance of figuring out where you went wrong than if you just try to do the problem in your head, get it wrong and have no point of reference to fix it from.’

When he actually does this it’s amazing how efficiently he gets through the problems. His answers are correct and relatively painless in the making, but, up until that point it is a challenge both for him and me. And, until he gets to the point where he does it all the time, he can’t really move on to higher math.

Seeing him and his resistance to changing his mind, how he does things, and my trying to get him to see another way, made me think about how often we do this with God.

How many times does it just seem like we’re waiting for something to happen? Waiting for God to do something when in reality He has been – and is – doing something. He’s been working on our resistant minds, conforming our ways and thoughts to His. Then, when we have finally learned what we need to learn, and our minds have been changed to look more like His,  He can take us into that direction that He’s been training us for along.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2

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Having children and being in a family is a wonderful reminder of how unique we all are even if we share the same genetics.

I love roller coasters. My son doesn’t. This really came into sharp focus when we were at Disneyland a few years ago when my son was finally tall enough to ride Space Mountain with me. I thought it was going to be great, but, he didn’t share my enthusiasm. Even though he was hesitant about the whole affair, I thought the minute we started riding on those tracks shooting around the galaxy he would change his mind.

He didn’t. The whole time he hid his face in his hands, slumping down in his seat so he didn’t even see hardly any of the cool stars, planets and meteorites on the ride. He just couldn’t wait to get off, and try as I might I have never been able to convince him to get back on it.

I mistakenly assumed that even though he has a less of a risk taking nature than I, that he would outgrow his natural hesitation for getting on roller coasters, and I would finally have someone to ride them with. I was wrong.

I was the youngest child of the youngest child which meant I not only was the youngest in my own family, but I was the youngest of all my cousins as well. The problem with being in that familial position was that there was no one in my  family who liked roller coasters as much as I did.

So, not only did I have to wait until I was tall enough to ride the roller coasters that I wanted to, ( I still look at every measuring device in front of every ride at every amusement park we go to and feel for the kids who are just that bit too short ) but, I also had to wait until I could find someone who was willing to wait for me to ride them, so I wouldn’t get lost and not be able to find my family when I got off.

Either way, before I was deemed ready by virtue of my height, and even after, I had to wait until I could ride them. First, for myself to grow, and second to join with someone else who would be willing to go along in the venture with me, if only in the supporting role of waiting for me to get on, then off, of the ride.

Sometimes that’s how it is in the family of God isn’t it? First we’re waiting and waiting until God has grown us enough that we’re able to actually do something for Him. Then we find out that we need to have another person in His family to join with us in His work, which, more often than not, means more waiting. And it’s not necessarily waiting for the person we think will join us, but waiting for the person that God has chosen to join us, which can be two different people and very often is.

But, that’s really hard isn’t it? The waiting. And, not only is it difficult but we can get overwhelmed with our own thoughts about it all while we’re waiting. We can lose the peace that He gives us because things don’t look right.

One thing you soon learn when walking with the Lord is that things never look quite right, but they do have that sense that underneath them that they are right because God is in control of them.

So really it comes down to a matter of trusting Him and not getting too stressed in the waiting,  no matter what that waiting looks like.

“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”

Isaiah 64:4

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Wait, wait, wait. It seems like we’re forever waiting, doesn’t it?

When you’re young and you’re going on a vacation, wait was a word of torturous length. How many times did you ask your parents ‘when are we going to get there?’ and depending on what type of parents you had, you got different answers,  like  ‘we’ll get there when we get there’, ‘soon’ or ‘5 minutes’. Of course, they seemed to say ‘5 minutes’ every half an hour for hours, which made it that much more unbearable.

Waiting is unbearable at times. As adult believers we are caught between asking God ‘when?’ to sitting quietly looking out the window of our lives watching the scenery go by as we go about our daily busyness waiting for God to do what He has told us He would do.

But, He doesn’t tell us ‘5 minutes’, in fact, usually, He doesn’t tell us anything. We’re just supposed to trust Him that He will do what He has said He will do when the time is right, which seems a very long time after we think it should be.

Basically, he just tells us to wait for Him.

A friend of mine recently reminded me of the Amorites in Genesis 15, who God spared because the behavior that would lead to their destruction had not reached its fullness, as in, they were given more time until that fullness of time was complete.

There’s something to that fullness of time idea.

Whenever I think of fullness, I think of a balloon being blown up. The helium is slowly added to the balloon until it can’t possibly contain any more, making it full and able to float high. Whereas, before it’s full it just kind of hangs around your ankles not doing much of anything.

In our lives God has so much that He’s adding in that we just can’t see. Maybe you’re where you’re supposed to be and He’s working with another person to bring them to where they’re supposed to be before He will bring you together for His own purposes, and maybe you’re the one that needs the work, you just can’t see it. All you can see is the seemingly endless waiting.

It’s that fullness of time thing, and God is the only one who can see it and bring it about at just the perfect time. Our job, hard as it is, is to just wait as patiently as we can, trusting God to be God and trying to understand that His fullness of time is not our own.

“From ancient times no one has heard, no one has listened, no eye has seen any God except You, who acts on behalf of the one who waits for Him.”

Isaiah 64:4

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