My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent. Psalm 22:1,2
Sometimes God’s silence is unbearable. Like the forlorn cry of a child in a dark room I cry out to God, but He does not seem to be listening. I do not see, hear or in any way sense God’s help or presence. But the devil hears me. He offers me comfort—instant gratification for my anxious mind. Here you go, turn this on, eat this, call her, reach out to him, drink this potion, take this pill, watch this movie, watch another and why not another?
A famous longitudinal study by psychologist Walter Mischel was performed on four year olds who were told that if they waited fifteen minutes they would receive two marshmallows, but if they could not wait they could ring a bell and instantly receive one marshmallow. The children who waited for two marshmallows significantly outperformed the one marshmallow children later in life. This study is described in more detail at the following site: www.newyorker.com
Many of us one-marshmallow people fall into harmful habits because of an inability to wait. We know that “those who wait on the Lord will gain new strength…mount up on wings like eagles…walk and not grow weary,” so the question is, can us one-marshmallow underachievers transform into two-marshmallow success stories? Not without help.
Fortunately for us, God is patient, relentlessly so. Over and over and over again He leaves us alone in a room with the gadgets and goo that this world has to offer. He promises gifts to the ones who can wait: strength of heart (Psalm 27:14), material blessings and triumph (Psalm 37:34), salvation from the wicked (Proverbs 20:22), mercy and redemption (Psalm 130:5-8). As a matter of fact
…since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor
perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides
You, who acts for the one who waits for Him.
The blessings for learning to wait on the Lord to meet our needs are beyond our ability to see or hear. These blessings are ethereal, winsome, sublime, beyond what we can imagine.
Now put down that marshmallow and wait a little longer. Put it down, now. Throw it into the garbage can. No, you’ll just go out there and fish it out later. Stomp on it until it sticks to the bottom of your shoe. Now, scrape it off your shoe and into your back yard. Skunks are nocturnal—they’ll have a fine snack later tonight.