On Easter morning my girls woke up early and rushed downstairs. The Easter bunny, (AKA: Mommy), had done it’s work and two brightly colored bags full of blue and yellow tissue sat gleaming in our living room.
Chris and I followed, eager to watch their excitement. “Hold on,” I said. “I forgot my camera.”
As I ran back upstairs in search of my phone, Tenley, my two-year-old, continued to plow through the tissue that filled her bag.
“Stop, Tenley, just wait a minute,” Chris said.
Failing to understand the simplicity behind her daddy’s instruction, Tenley burst into tears and proceeded to throw a temper tantrum. (The classic, two-year-old kind.)
“Tenley…” Chris said again.
But Tenley wasn’t having it. She wanted that present. She wanted to tear through that tissue. She didn’t understand that if she would just stop and wait for a minute the blessing would soon be hers.
“Got it,” I said with my camera in hand. Seeing Tenley’s tears I asked what happened.
By this time Tenley had stopped crying and was sitting on the couch next to Chris. “Instead of opening her present,” Chris said, “Tenley is sitting here with me until she is willing to calm down and talk to about the tantrum she threw.”
“Tenley,” he said. “Are you ready to talk to daddy?”
“Nope,” Tenley said with a shake of her head that was equal parts cute and defiant.
“Okay,” Chris said. “No present until you’re ready to talk to daddy.”
Aletheia, my five-year-old opened her present. Tenley watched and eventually moved from her spot on the couch to her sister’s side.
“Tenley,” Chris said again. “Are you ready to talk to daddy.”
We went about our morning routine. The girls played. I fixed breakfast. Chris took a shower. Eventually timecame for the girls to get dressed. As I ushered them upstairs Chris offered Tenley one last chance to open her present before our family left for church.
“Tenley,” he said. “Are you ready to talk to daddy?” This time her response was different. Nodding her head she ran with open arms and climbed onto his lap. Chris held her tight and explained why he had asked her to stop opening her present. Tenley said she was sorry for throwing a temper tantrum and peace was restored between them.
“You may open your present now,” Chris said as Aletheia brought Tenley her bag. I grabbed my camera and we all watched as Tenley, tore open her present. Squeals of delight echoed through the living room as she reveled in the joy of her surprise, in the excitement of opening her gift, in the blessing that was all for her.
Later as I thought about the morning’s events I realized that Tenley’s behavior over her Easter basket was not unlike my own.
How many times has God asked me to experience relationship with Him before receiving a blessing?
How many times has God set aside a blessing for me yet asked me to wait?
Every day, blessings I don’t even realize are sitting there, waiting for me, if I would just come to my Father, curl up in His lap and talk to Him…be with Him…center my life on Him.
They can all be mine, and more besides, if I would but come and tie my heart to Him.
Other times the blessing I desire is obvious but for whatever reason, God says, “Wait.”
“But I don’t want to wait,” I say as I reach for the brightly colored tissue paper. As I throw my own temper tantrum. (The classic, grown-up, thirty-two-year-old kind.)
“You want to talk about it?” God says.
“Are you ready to obey, to do what I’ve asked you to do in order to receive your blessing?”
“Okay then, we’ll wait. When you’re ready, I’ll be here and so will your blessing.”
As a parent I want my children to be happy. But even more than that I want them to be healthy and whole both inside and out. I know that happiness without wholeness is really not happiness but a temporary coping device that will eventually result in a heart that is empty and longing for something real and lasting.
If I can see this in my children as an earthly parent how much more can God see this in us? Yes, God wants us to be happy but what He wants even more is for us to be transformed. He wants to refine us so we can experience His goodness to the fullest extent. He wants our hearts to be whole and healthy so that whatever happiness we experience can begin and end with Him.
He longs to bless us. Sometimes His blessings come freely, and sometimes they come through a process of waiting, of trial, of obedience. Either way, they always come, first and foremost, through relationship with Him.
Is there a blessing in your life that you long for? Are you willing to wait? Obey? Curl into His lap and talk?
Are there daily blessings you’re missing simply because you won’t slow down, because you won’t make time to come and sit with the Father?
The blessing is there. It’s waiting for you and so is your heavenly Dad.
Talk to Him. Spend time with Him. Let Him be your prize.
And all manner of blessing will follow.