Nov 11, 2004

at last...

Finally, a slight reprieve from the chaos! I have completed all the work I am able to complete today. My remaining three assignments (none of which are due immediately) require resources that are not available to me tonight: photography project requires natural light, language analysis requires tomorrow's observation, and instructional design project requires the Mac lab at school and I'm simply not going there at 9pm. So, rather than sitting on my bum and making a total waste of my time, I have decided to post the info I promised to Allie. So without further ado Allison, this is what I spoke on at Fusion two weeks ago.

Good v. Best... choosing to wait

"The good often becomes the enemy of the best in life." (Lady in Waiting)

In our lives we have millions of choices and it is often important that we choose what is BEST rather than settling for what is simply GOOD.

In the field of Psychology, studies have been done involving children and marshmallows. In these studies, a child is placed in a room with a marshmallow on a plate. The child is told that the adult (the researcher) is going to leave the room for a while and if the child DOES NOT eat the marshmallow, he will be rewarded with a second marshmallow when the adult returns and will be allowed to eat both of them. However, if the child eats the first marshmallow, he will not receive a second one. In the child's eyes, one marshmallow is good but two is best. The determining factor is if they can WAIT.

In the book of I Samuel, there are two examples of people who had the option of choosing what seemed good or waiting for what was best. The first is Saul. In chapter 13, Saul was king over Israel, and one of his commanding officers had killed the Philistine governor. In response, the Philistines planned to attack the Israelites. Saul gathered his troops and prepared for battle. When they saw that they were greatly outnumbered by the Philistines, they scattered and took cover. Saul was told to wait for seven days and the priest Samuel would come make offerings to God on their behalf to bring God's blessing on them during this battle. The seventh day came, and there seemed to be no sign of Samuel. Saul decided that offerings needed to be made whether the priest was there or not, so he took it upon himself to perform the offerings. [THIS WAS NOT HIS JOB! HE HAD NO BUSINESS DOING THAT!] Only priests were allowed to perform the offerings. Samuel arrived just as Saul was completing the offerings and condemned him for his actions. Saul's misguided choice to do what he thought seemed good (or good enough) caused him to lose favor with God rather than gain it. He chose not to wait on what was best, but to settle for what seemed good.

Second story: In chapter 1 of I Samuel is the story of Hannah. Hannah was married to a man named Elkanah. Elkanah also had another wife named Peninnah because at the time it was very common for men to have more than one wife. Peninnah had children; Hannah did not. At the time, a woman's worth was determined by her children. For many years Hannah waited and prayed for a child. Peninnah tourmented and taunted her for not having any. In their culture, it would have been completely acceptible for Hannah to have given her maid to her husband and had a child by another woman, but Hannah chose not to do that. She knew that God had put it in her heart to have children, so she continued to wait. At one point in her life, she was at the temple praying. She was very upset and the priest approached her because he thought she was drunk. She explained that she wasn't, that she was just pouring her heart out to God. The priest, realizing her sinceriety, blessed her and told her to go in peace. Shortly after, the answer to her many years of prayer came, and she had a son. In Hannah's situation, it may have seemed good at some points to have a child by another woman, but Hannah held out for what was best--what God had planned for her.

In our lives, sometimes we know what we're waiting for, like the kid with the marshmallow... he knew he was waiting for a second marshmallow. But more often, we DON'T know what is coming... like Saul and Hannah. They were NOT completely sure what was going to happen; they only knew they were instructed to wait.

Acts 1:7 says, "And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power." God does not guarantee that we will know what He has planned for us. He only tells us to be obedient by waiting. Abraham had to leave where he was living without knowing where he was going. Hebrews 11:8 says, "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going."

We don't always know what God has planned for us, but we do know that there is something in store. Our obedience through waiting on God is what will bring us to the BEST in life rather than merely the good.

Psalm 27:14 "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say on the Lord."

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