In learning how to become an effective mathematics teacher, one thing we’ve been taught is – always ask the students, “Why?” And if you can, always respond to a student with another question after they answer your first question. Questioning – it’s huge. Basically, a class period should consist of the teacher asking a question, student answers, teacher asks, student may ask, teacher asks again, student answers, teacher asks, student stops answering because they’re annoyed, teacher laughs and moves on [at least that’s how it is in my classroom. :)] How else will we know if the students really understand the concepts? We have to pick their brain. We look for procedural fluency. We listen for vocabulary used appropriately. We love to hear the answer to, “Why?” in order to assess our students. It’s a great day for a teacher when her students actually respond with something unexpected that shows they actually learned something. “Why is 1 a prime number?” “Why is .9 repeating the same as 1?” “Why are rectangles not squares, but squares are rectangles?” I’ll stop there. Pretty soon the students will start asking you silly questions like, “Why do we even need math?” To which you would respond, “Because.”
Throughout my week with Jesus and student-teaching, I was thinking and reflecting on two things – “why?” and waiting. That was the theme of my week. My students didn’t do too hot on their quiz; obviously I wasn’t asking enough questions. But on the other hand with Jesus I was trying not to ask so many questions. It’s funny how the things of this world encourage us to do the opposite of what the Lord wants – even when it comes down to questioning. In my quest to get to know Jesus more and more, I thought it would be good to take some time to think about why He would want us to wait. So I decided to pose a question to my family that entailed these two things that had been on my mind. Thankfully being on every end of the country doesn’t matter because we have the wonderful GroupMe app.
So I asked, “Why do we wait?” No background. Just the question. Here were the responses –
- We wait because that’s just the way it is. That’s my philosophy. I don’t ask too many questions.
- Well I don’t know how to answer if I don’t know what I’m waiting for. All I know is, in life waiting makes me trust in God and trust that He will direct my paths. It makes me depend on Him.
- We don’t have to wait. Jesus Christ has won us eternal LIFE. So these 80 or so years on earth are just a moment, and when this moment ends we [those who believe] have an eternal life of joy and happiness waiting for us. Time is relative, and if you relate it to the gift of eternal life we have in store, this time on earth is nothing! I ain’t gotta wait for anything, it’s already here!! (Shout out to my boy, Rare Turtle!)
- We wait on God because we trust in God to provide in HIS time.
- I wait because I have to. If I didn’t have to, then I wouldn’t.
- There’s a reason for waiting. Sometimes it’s better to wait than to get something right away, you tend to take it for granted. There’s lessons learned in the journey of waiting.
- We wait because we trust that God will provide all our needs in His time.
So the general response was – waiting is inevitable and produces in us trust.
It’s not just us, even in the ‘Bible Times’ people were waiting and complaining and asking “Why?” Let’s take a look at a specific instance. In Judges 6, we see that the Israelites “did evil in the sight of the Lord.” “So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years, and the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel.” The crazy part is, is that the Lord had already saved Israel from the Egyptians and “out of the hand of all who oppressed” them. In verse 10, the Lord says, “But you have not obeyed My voice.” Hmmmm. Interesting. Then in the next few verses, we see Gideon introduced by the Angel of the Lord as a “mighty man of valor,” which was news to Gideon. Now, here comes the big question from Gideon, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” To which the Lord responds, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” Gideon continued to question God and doubted his ability to actually save Israel. And again the Lord, in all confidence in Gideon, replies, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” At this point, after reading this and after a few days of me trying not to ask “why?” but it being REALLY hard, my mind was blown. Here were my thoughts – 1) The Israelites had it coming. 2) Why would they even wonder why they were in this spot? 3) The Lord didn’t answer Gideon’s question.
If we take a good and honest look at our lives it would make sense why we’ve had to face certain seasons of struggle or periods of waiting. Just like the Israelites, we’ve sinned against God so many times. He always shows us grace, but He isn’t just going to give us what we want, when we want it. If that’s who you think God is, then you don’t know how much He loves you. God wants us to obey Him and when we don’t, there are consequences – just like how any other father/child relationship works. So what if you have been obeying Him, but you still are in this period of waiting? I think that’s the time when it’s the hardest not to ask “why?” And that’s where I was last week. It’s also the time that the Lord uses to grow us into true disciples (‘It’s All About the Timing’). I was trying not to cross the line of complete distrust. I was trying to stay on the side of trusting the Lord in every step I took. And it finally dawned on me. I know why I’m waiting. I’m waiting because He waited for me. He waited for me for 10 years to believe He was my Savior. He then waited for me for another 11 years for me to realize He wasn’t just my Savior, but that He is my everything. He waited for 21 years. Can you imagine waiting for something you love SO much for 21 years? Something you desire so badly to love you back? Something that is so precious to you, which you would give your life for? After more than two decades of making my Jesus wait for me, the least I could do is not ask “why?” But even doing the most, would never be enough. Life with Jesus isn’t like teaching math. We can’t even begin to try to act like we understand everything. Jesus is our Teacher. We trust Him. Let Him ask all the questions. And let’s pray that we can faithfully respond with, “Yes, Lord!”
The Lord called Gideon to do something great. Gideon didn’t have all the answers, and God didn’t give him the answers. When you ask God “why?” and you listen for His voice, He most probably is going to not answer that question, but say, “Just trust and obey.” He’ll also add in, “I love you. I loved you for 21 years. And I love you the same today. And I will love you the same for an eternity.”
My family pretty much got it right. Waiting – it’s going to happen. A big part of any Christian’s life is patience. But ask yourself, “Why am I waiting?” Wait because He waited for you. Yes, the Lord has promised us blessing on top of blessing. But focus on the Blesser not the blessings. In my human logic, if the Lord can wait for me for that long, I can wait for anything He has in store for me.
Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Seuss’, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” –
“Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a sting of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
NO! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.”
We’ve found the bright places. We’ve found where the Boom Bands are playing. We look forward to mansions of glory and endless delight with Jesus Christ, our Savior and Friend. Eternity is waiting for us.