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"But I want it NOW!"
My family lived in the middle of orange groves, ten miles from the nearest town. Every day after school I left my friends in town, and rode a school bus back home. I was turning seven soon and was electric with excitement! Seven friends would ride home with me to celebrate my birthday! Even though it was two weeks away, I had already cut long yellow crepe-paper streamers to hang from the ceiling, dividing the living room from the dining room where cake and refreshments would be served.
I decided I couldn’t wait for my birthday. Imitating my mother's handwriting, I wrote a new set of invitations for my friends to come a week earlier. I didn’t even think to tell my mother. Seven friends wore party dresses to school that day. Giggling and chattering, they handed their permission notes to the bus driver.
I raced up the porch steps, seven girls close behind me, bearing gaily wrapped gifts. Ringing the doorbell, I thought I would burst. Mother would be so excited!
“Why, there must be some mistake!" she cried in astonishment. "I’m sure our invitation said the party would be next week on the 28th!” She looked from the girls back to me for an explanation. I was as puzzled as she. Wasn’t Mother excited to have the party now?
“Mommy, they are all here today, and so could we PLEASE have it TODAY?!”
“Darling, there is no birthday cake. The streamers aren't even hung."
“But Mommy, we've already planned the games, and we all can hang the streamers!"
“No, sweetheart, there is nothing prepared. Now girls, I understand there has been a mistake. I will need to take you all back home and explain it to your mothers. But I promise you next week we will have a real birthday party. You won't want to miss it! Now come along, and I'll take you home."
Just before she died my mother told that story to my daughter, Sarah. “Your mom was always my NOW girl," she said.
Patience is an area I am still working on. If I want to become a diamond of value I must submit patiently to the heat and pressure God ordains. Every trial strengthens me bringing clarity and endurance to my character.
What is the greatest pressure I can think of? Probably dying to myself and my agenda. This is the critical issue. I can choose to relinquish what I want, and what I think I deserve, and accept the trial. The word "trial" comes from the verb "to press" (crushing grapes and olives!) I am so encouraged by what St Paul had to say about patience during trials in Romans 5:3-5. "knowing that trials bring about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." In other words, outward trouble or inward anguish produces patient endurance. Patience produces character!
Why am I willing to die? I've had a glimpse of God! God is Good. God is Love. God is the "I AM." God is everything I am not. I've been invited to enter His presence. What I have abandoned is coal. What I am becoming is diamond. I enter with Thanksgiving. The pressure produces joy! I am of value. I am becoming His diamond.
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