Have you ever heard of the delayed gratification experiment done years ago that used marshmallows in an attempt to study those who could wait for a good thing? The study went something like, the teacher left 2 marshmallows on the table in front of the students, with the instructions not to eat the treat until she returned. Some of the students could not wait and as soon as the teacher was away and not looking scarfed down their marshmallows. However those who did wait and followed the instructions, had greater senses of gratification and ultimately when followed up on later in life had achieved greater things.
The marshmallow experiment reminds me of life and what we are willing to do when no one is looking to get what we want. But even if we cannot see another person, God is always present with us. For those of us who know this and want to wait, want to please our God, we end likely end it knowing our race was well run.
What do you do when no one is looking? What do you do while you’re waiting for God to answer? Do you do nothing?
1 Thessalonians 5:2
For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. NKJV
2 Peter 3:10-14
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless…
Now that is heavy stuff! That question “What manner of persons ought you to be…?” really gets to me. What I do while I’m waiting for Jesus has far greater value than I realize sometimes. Most days I never leave my house, instead I clean up after 5 kids that probably do not realize I am not a maid service. I wipe boogers and poop off stuff, wash the dishes, clothes, organize closets and wardrobes, mop and sweep, sweep and mop, mop and sweep, rewash the dishes, rewash the clothes! My goodness, I even clean up after their pet’s! When you have small kids, the only thing you seem to accomplish is cleaning up. We could look at the Mary vs. Martha story but I have a feeling no little children were involved in that story for a reason. This season of life is about putting things in order. However I still need to know I’m living for Jesus, even if I’m cleaning the same spot on the floor I cleaned yesterday. And most certainly my kids need to know I’m living for Him!
Today I had the teenager drama at 6 AM, which is no time for a kid to be awake in the first place. But man, my kids were fighting so loud they woke me up. Now on this particular day I had agreed to host Bible study for my study group. Wouldn’t you know that every time I get involved in that they go all evil! So as they were waiting for the bus, I said in a not so nice voice, “Today is Bible study you know?” My tweenager replied, “That is all you ever care about!” with a totally wicked evil voice. You might call this a fail, like I have put God before my kids. But as much as she wanted to hurt me, I took it as a compliment. Because while no one is looking, while my kids are in bed (or should be in bed) I get to have adventures with God, where I learn who He is, and who He says I am. And best of all, I have a changed life. That poor kid has no idea how God’s love letter has saved my life from drugs, from promiscuity, violence, anger and self-destruction. She may never understand why I’m so desperate to study what Jesus said, who He was and is! But at least she knows, He is 1st even when her sister took the blow dryer.
Now Jesus please work on me to respond also with a voice that’s not so wicked evil. And when no one is looking let my heart always be waiting for You, looking past those temporary marshmallows to the prize of the well run race. Amen.