Waiting for the Fourth Watch...
Stretching My Faith and Trust
As I have been trying to wait patiently and have faith and trust in God concerning the sale of my house, a story from my past keeps entering my mind. I wanted to share it with you and what it has recently taught me...
When my husband was in medical school in Minnesota, we had 3 small boys. My oldest son, Alex, had a lazy eye and had to wear glasses to help correct that problem. One evening in October when my husband was working and I was making dinner for the kids, I let them play in our backyard while it was snowing. When dinner was done I called them in to eat. Alex showed up at the door without his glasses. After questioning him, it became apparent that they had gotten snowy and he had taken them off. We made a quick trip around the yard to look for the glasses, yet we were not successful. Money was very tight, and I knew that we did not have funds for new glasses. However, I also knew that with my son's condition that it was crucial that he have them.
My heart began to sink, and the thought to pray entered my mind.
I felt this would be a great way to have my children experience the power of prayer, so I gathered them together and explained that I had faith that God would help us find Alex's glasses. We said a prayer and went outside to look for them.
The snow was coming down harder now, so I grabbed rakes from the garage and we began to rake through almost a foot of newly fallen snow. As the evening progressed, it began to get dark, and I began to worry. I knew that the snow would not melt until May and that we desperately needed to find those glasses. I also worried that my children would receive the opposite lesson about faith and prayer that I had intended. After over an hour of looking and with a very hungry tummy, I cried out in frustration,
"God, how am I supposed to teach my children about faith if we don't find the glasses? How could you prompt me to tell them what I did if you were not going to help me!"
My tone severely lacked faith.
Fortunately, the prayer was in my head and not spoken out loud for my children to hear. We looked another 10 minutes, and then in frustration, I threw the rake down and told the boys to come inside for dinner.
As I stomped up the steps, there folded neatly in my path on top of the newly fallen snow, were my son's glasses. The words,
"Oh ye of little faith," entered my mind, and I quickly felt ashamed of my earlier accusation.
I gathered my children around inside and explained to them how God had answered our prayers even though my faith had faltered.
We talked about how God sometimes waits to answer our prayers so that our faith will have the opportunity to grow. Then we prayed to thank him for our 'little miracle.'
This story is very similar to the story in the New Testament of the Savior coming to the disciples in the ship during the fourth watch of the night...
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25 And ain the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. (Matthew 14 :24-25)
For those of you who do not know, the night is divided into 4 watches with the fourth watch being right before the dawn. Most of us really want God to answer our prayers in the first watch.
By the time we get to the third watch,
we often feel our faith faltering.
It is helpful to remember that sometimes God waits for that last possible moment, not because He doesn't love us, but because he wants to stretch our faith to the maximum amount giving us opportunity for maximum growth.
This is a video clip from a Michael Wilcox,
a widower who is an inspirational speaker.
He shares this idea of a 'Fourth Watch God.'
The experience of finding my son's glasses and this concept of a 'Fourth Watch God,' helps me to have faith even when I feel like the answers are taking a long time coming...
even when the "wind is contrary to me, and I toil in rowing again the wind." (see Mark 6:48)
That is the kind of faith and trust I am trying to have.
What experiences from your life help you to wait patiently when answers do not immediately come?