“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” – Psalms 27:13-14.
We live in a world that wants what it wants and it wants it right now. There isn’t one of us that does not love a little instant gratification now and then. How do I know that? All you have to do is look at the society in which we live and you can see signs of it everywhere. That is why 4 or 5 people drive through the traffic light even after it turns from yellow to red? That is why we think the world is going to end if it takes more than 30 seconds to exit the McDonald’s drive thru.
There is a story in Matthew 15 that touches on this subject. Matthew 15:22 tells us, “A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.” This woman’s need was great, the situation grave, so she wanted instant gratification by having the Lord answer her prayer instantly. She didn’t deserve God’s mercy, but Jesus was her only hope and she expected him to give her what she wanted. But Jesus was not going to answer her immediately.
Matthew 15:23 says, “But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”
Jesus seemed to ignore her. But she keeps after it, following them and begging. The disciples soon had enough of this woman and her begging and asked Jesus to send her away. In Matthew 15:24 Jesus responds: “Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”
The woman tried again and Jesus gave her what seems like a strong answer on the surface: “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” Not only did Jesus tell her that it wasn’t right to give that which was meant for the Jews and give it to her, but he called her a dog too.
Things didn’t look good. She wasn’t getting a timely answer. What more could she do? I imagine she was discouraged, if not confused. But she didn’t give up. She put aside impulse or instant gratification for a greater purpose, her daughter. I would call that perseverance. Matthew 15: 27: “She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.” Matthew 5:28 finishes the story: “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.”
She wanted instant gratification, but she didn’t get it. We must all realize that instant gratification isn’t God’s way of doing business on every occasion. We won’t always get what we want when we want it. We must learn to wait on God and stop looking for an easy way out. You won’t be delivered instantly from every kind of discomfort, pain, or inconvenience. There are no shortcuts in knowing Jesus. We cannot hope to understand God on human terms. We can, however, trust God to answer us in His own time. You will never get God’s best for your life if you only seek after instant gratification.
- As a Christian should we feel entitled? Should we get faster answers from God?
- We all suffer from the disease of now? How would you rate yourself in this area?
- What can we do this week to take the longer view over choosing the here and now?