November 1, 2010
"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truths and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."
Psalm 25:4-5 (NIV)
When I was a kid, I had tapes of the music I liked. When I was in college, I had CDs. The point was, when I liked a song, I had to buy the whole tape or CD to get that song. Sometimes you could buy the cassette single and sometimes you could get lucky enough to tape it from the radio. (Anyone else remember sitting by the radio waiting to catch your favorite song so you could hit record?) But for the most part, you had to buy the whole enchilada.
A funny thing happened when you bought the whole tape or CD, though. Not always, but a lot of the time you found other songs you liked by that artist. Your eyes were opened to other possibilities. (Hang on... I am going somewhere with this...) You discovered a song that you felt like no one else knew about but you because you didn't hear it on the radio. It became personal because it wasn't popular. It was what you found when you were looking for something else.
Now music has changed. One of my kids hears a song and within moments they can get online and have it downloaded to their iPod for $1. No trip to the mall with your hard-earned money, no waiting for your mom to have time to drive you. Just a few clicks and press play. And you also don't have to buy anything you didn't want or know about. You just got what you wanted, when you wanted it. It has revolutionized the music industry. But is it necessarily better that way?
I spent time last week going back through old songs I loved, many of which were songs that were never popular, that most people never heard of. I found them because I had bought the whole tape of some band's latest release. I like them so much because they weren't popular, therefore they didn't get overplayed. They felt mine.
How often I want my faith the way I want my iPod—instant gratification without having to wade through the unknowns. I want what I want when I want it. Point click and play. I don't want God to require me to buy the whole album—to deal with the parts I don't know or like, to take the time to listen to things I might not want to hear.
And yet, I gained a lot from wading through the stuff I never would have tried without being forced. There were unexpected treasures to be found, surprises I ended up valuing more than what I originally set out to find.
I wanted to be a mother but I didn't want the sleepless nights and being stretched to the point of breaking. I wanted to be married but I didn't want to learn how to get along with another person day in and day out, to discover what sacrifice really means. I wanted to be a novelist but I didn't want to have to work so hard to make it happen. I wanted to lose weight but I didn't want to exercise daily or control my cravings. I wanted what I wanted, and God used those desires to build my character along the way, and draw me closer to Him in the process.
Call me old school (you wouldn't be the first) but I don't want an iPod faith. Just because it's more convenient or faster doesn't mean it's the best way. Sometimes being open to what you weren't expecting is the best way to find what you were looking for all along.
Dear Lord, help me to remember when You ask me to wait it is for my best. Help me to trust in the process You're taking me through. And help me remember that You are on the other side of every trial, waiting with a new perspective, a new vision, a new hope. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit Marybeth's blog
The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen
Teach this lesson to your kids with Van Walton's From the Pound to the Palace
Share this lesson with your teens with Alex and Brett Harris' Do the Hard Thing
Re-visit this lesson yourself with Susanne Scheppmann's Birds in My Mustard Tree: How to Grow Your Faith
An iPod has a list of songs it contains. Make a list of things you've learned through your trails. And make a list of what you feel God is teaching you in this season.
What are some things God has required you to go through that you would have chosen to skip if you could? Are you grateful for them now?
Psalm 31:3, "Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me." (NIV)
Psalm 143:8, "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul." (NIV)
© 2010 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 01 November 2010.