I long for the quiet, early morning hours when my loved ones are still sleeping. The sun is just barely beginning to peek over the horizon and the only sound I hear is the birds chirping outside my window. This is my favorite time to grab my cup of tea, curl up on the loveseat next to the window and just soak in all that God has done. I call it my “tea time with Jesus.”
Oh, how my soul loves it! I could linger there for hours and sometimes do. It would be dishonest if I let you believe that every time Jesus and I have tea I am basking in his unconditional love with a heart filled with gratitude and a soul full of peace. As much as I dearly love those moments, more often than I care to admit I spend our tea time complaining about all that I still don’t understand, begging God to hurry up and answer my prayers, or at the very least just show me a sign that all the things and people I worry about will be ok.
I imagine Jesus just sits in the green chair across from me, looks at me with compassion, and says “Be patient, Kara. You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (John 13:7, NIV) And I say, “Is it later yet, Lord? How much longer until it’s later, Father? Please, Jesus, can later be now?” It wouldn’t surprise me if Jesus wants me to sip my tea a little faster on some of those quiet mornings.
The Lord’s timing is perfect. I know this, but still I struggle at times with His timeline not matching mine. My timeline will have brought my Prodigal home years ago. It will have spared him from poor choices and their consequences. It will have saved my heart from constant ache and all-consuming worry.
My timeline will have made things so much easier for me, and for my child, but it will have done nothing to help further God’s Kingdom. It will have been completely selfish. It will have robbed my son of what will one day be his powerful testimony. It will have robbed those who will one day hear his testimony of seeing how God has brought beauty from ashes. It will have made the mountains that I have spent twenty-one years telling my son he was born to move non-existent.
If my timing had been used, God’s goodness, faithfulness, strength, and unconditional love will have been missed.
Friends, do you know how many cups of tea I drank before even the tiniest flicker of understanding came? Let me help you understand by channeling my inner Sophia from Golden Girls, “Picture it, Boston Harbor, 1773”. Maybe I didn’t really drink a harbor full of tea, but it took months of Jesus faithfully meeting me in my living room before I was able to understand what He is doing and what it will accomplish.
I always imagined that when I finally understood why things happened the way they have, I would feel a huge sense of relief, like a huge weight had been lifted from my weary shoulders.
As I sat there that spring morning with a new understanding of the journey we have been on, the overwhelming relief I had imagined wasn’t what washed over me. The emotions I felt instead, and still feel today, are difficult to put into words. I feel humbled that the Creator of the universe loves me enough to gently bring upon me understanding rather than chastise me for doubting His goodness.
I feel selfish for wanting to end my heartache and pain at the expense of what others might gain from it. I feel hopeful that the outcome will be worth the struggle. I feel blessed that God has allowed my family to have a part in His amazing story. Every tear, every sleepless night, every heavy sinking feeling in my stomach will be worth the good that will come from them. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose”. (NIV)
Tomorrow as I curl up on my loveseat in the early morning hours, a hot cup of Oolong tea in my hand, birds chirping outside the window, and Jesus across from me in His green chair, I will not complain or beg Him to hurry. I will just sit back, take a sip, and take in all He has done and marvel at how much He loves me.