Friday night I was fortunate enough to hear Tim Keller speak. I'm familiar enough with his writing and teaching that I knew I had to see him for myself.
His latest offering centers on the gospel of Mark. He spoke to us about Mark 5, where Jairus requests that Jesus come to his house to heal his dying daughter and Jesus stops along the way to connect with the unclean woman. This is a familiar story to me but I was amazed by Keller's insights.
He said two things that especially stood out to me:
First, God's grace has its own schedule and it's virtually never ours.
Second, God gives you what you would have prayed for if you'd known everything He knows.
I think about all that I am wanting and know that it's definitely not happening on my schedule. Now I'm thinking about my prayers and all that I don't know about God's big picture. I believe the truth of Romans 8:28: And we know in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (NIV).
This applies to seasons of waiting. There is purpose and growth that can occur if we let it. Even if I wait the rest of my life, God will use it for my good and for his purpose.
I will never know even a portion of the things that God knows but this helps me consider that He does and He knows best. We can all point to past prayers that we desperately wanted answered but that we are now grateful weren't. Any frustration on my part about unanswered prayers generally stems from my own self-righteousness or pride. It's laughable to think that I would know better than God.
As I've prayed the last couple of nights, I've asked God about the things that I don't know and asked that He remind me of His perspective...not my will, but His be done. I'm asking for a measure of grace with this too because I can be impatient and I sometimes doubt His love when my will is bent to His.
But man, if I only knew everything He knew, I couldn't help but be more gracious in return.