It was a beautiful sunny Fall day, so I took Mark and Nate outside to blow bubbles. But what I thought would be fun, quickly turned into a sticky, frustrating mess for my 3 and 4 year old protégés.
As I watched them quickly and forcibly blow air harder and harder through the small plastic wands, I couldn’t help but feel their frustration. Over and over again, I watched them suck air in, only to blow it out twice as hard. And aimlessly so, despite the wand poised carefully right in front of their mouths.
Try as they might, their determination and sheer force were also their downfall. They watched in amazement as hundreds of tiny, rainbow orbs emanated seemingly effortlessly time and time again from my own wand. What was the difference? Why did mine “work” and not theirs? It certainly wasn’t due to any lack of effort or will on their part.
I gently took the dripping wands from their tiny, sticky hands. I demonstrated the art of how to blow gently, steadily, purposefully. But, sadly, this skill would just have to wait. It wasn’t the right time. They hadn’t yet developed the patience to blow slowly and intentionally. They didn’t understand the finesse that was required in such a simple task. Instead, they wanted to will those bubbles into existence with brute force.
Sadly, where there is a will, there is not always a way.
Having decided that was enough practice for the day, I gathered the boys, cleaned them up and distracted them with another activity I knew they could handle: playing with toy cars. But as I returned to clean up the sticky mess of unused bubble solution, I reflected on the frustration my boys felt and how I, too, often experience this in my own circumstances.
How often I try to push, prod, poke and otherwise try to force things along when it’s not in my ability—or even place—to do so. How often I exhaust myself trying, completely forgetting or—even worse, ignoring—this truth. How often I don’t practice humility in my daily life.
Timing isn’t ours to choose. And while waiting is admittedly hard to do, it’s what we’re told to do. Fortunately, though, we needn’t sit idle. God has provided instructions for exactly what to do in the meantime: Keep His way.
Wait for the Lord and keep his way…
Psalm 37:34a (ESV)