For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God, except God’s Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:11 WEB)
The first few weeks of one of our furloughs went as planned. We shared with family, friends and churches what God accomplished through the radio ministry. It was a joy to see excited faces and answer questions about God’s work. We started in Houston, headed east, then north and wrapped around back through Kansas City and down through Oklahoma heading back to our starting point.
That furlough we enjoyed the comfort of a beautiful Oldsmobile sedan. Three in the front, three in the back and the trunk full to the brim. With cruise control and air conditioning we wandered along the highways from house to house and church to church. There were two big loops through different portions of the US planned that trip.
Toward the end of the first loop, just as we entered the northern reaches of Oklahoma City I heard a funny noise, the engine was suddenly bogged down and I pulled to the side of the road. A sudden rush of hot air from the air conditioning ducts led me to suspect the compressor was in trouble.
I turned off the air conditioner as I rolled to a stop on the shoulder of the highway. It was hot, unbearably hot. In the few seconds between turning off the air conditioner to stopping the car the temperature in the car rose sharply. This did not bode well in the middle of summer.
Stepping to the front of the car I opened the hood. At my shout Beth pressed the air conditioner “on” button. Immediately I shouted, “Turn it off” as I watched the belts flop widely and heard them squeal against the frozen shaft of the compressor. The air conditioner was a dead duck and there were several hundred miles to go before we could consider repair or changing vehicles.
With the windows down we headed south toward Texas and our next stop. It would be a long two days until we reached our friends in San Antonio. The next day we were caught in a traffic jam in Austin. It was hot, cars weren’t moving and the children, not to mention Beth and me, were hot, irritable and ready for a cool breeze. The breeze didn’t arise but the heat continued to rise.
Evan reached a boiling point and decided he was hungry for something. Traffic didn’t permit us to pull over and enjoy a break. Evan continued to clamor for something to eat or drink. It’s amazing how the combination of heat, thirst, and an upset baby can quickly get on your nerves.
In the years God provided for us to raise our children we worked to reduce the amount of sweets and other “bad” foods they ate. The only thing in the car at this time was a bag of Sweet Tarts we’d picked up somewhere along the way. Evan was only a one year old, tired, hot, hungry, thirsty and bored from sitting in the car.
Beth and I knew these were not the best items to eat in the heat. The last think Evan needed was more energy he could not expend in the confines of the car seat. After a few minutes of his crying and complaining we relented and said, “Give him the Sweet Tarts!” It quieted him down, calmed our nerves and brought a sense if peace back to the stifling air of the car.
It’s amazing how the wrong thing could produce such a good response. Beth and I knew he didn’t need the candy but a cool drink and some food. Evan cried out to get what he wanted. He didn’t really care what it was. He saw the candy and wanted it. After a while, we let him have it.
I think God deals with us like this sometimes. We look around and see something that looks exciting and enjoyable and cry out to get it. God knows better. He knows what we need and when we need it but we at times are too impatient to wait for His perfect will in our lives.
A few minutes later we were able to get off the highway and enjoy a nice meal in an air conditioned restaurant. Evan was too full from the Sweet Tarts to enjoy the meal. He’d filled his stomach with the pleasures of his eye, Sweet Tarts, and was unable to enjoy the good food of the restaurant.
The same happens in our spiritual life. We fill up on the lust of the eyes and when the blessing of God comes we don’t have room in our hearts to rejoice. If we have a little patience, a little time of waiting for God’s answer then we’ll receive what He planned for our lives. The next time we see something we just can’t wait to obtain, maybe it’d be a good time to check with God about His plan and timing. We might be asking for Sweet Tarts when God has a steak dinner planned!