Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com
My wife is the middle child of her parents, having both an older sister and a younger brother. Having gotten to know them all very well through the years, I can tell you with utter certainty that they are all very different one from another. Their temperaments are different, their mannerisms are different, they all have their similarities, of course, but they are different.
This is to say, that, Dana in general was the most obedient, easy to guide child of the three. She would be the textbook example of the compliant child Dr. James Dobson described so well in his book, “Parenting Isn’t For Cowards.”
And that is what made her recent confession to me such a surprising and amusing thing.
It was Christmas, and she was eleven or twelve years old. The presents were all wrapped and under the tree weeks before Christmas day. Uncharacteristically, my future spouse, the one day pastor’s wife of a thriving church, the eventual godly example to three of her own children, opened all of her gifts to find out what they were, and then carefully re-wrapped them.
It was the most miserable Christmas she ever had.
All of the excitement was gone, all of the wonder melted away like frost in the face of the rising sun. She spent the rest of the Christmas season regretting every minute of what she had done. And, while her siblings got to experience actual joy with each and every gift they opened on Christmas morning, Dana had to pretend to be surprised, she had to pretend to be excited, she had to pretend to be joyful.
Understand, the gifts were nice, and they had not changed one bit. The reason they did not bring her any joy when they normally would have is that she jumped ahead of things and dabbled in them before she was supposed to.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
In every good gift that God has for us, there are two very important aspects to our enjoyment or lack thereof: the gift, and the timing. Since we are talking about gifts from His hand, we know that the gifts will always be good. Therefore, the primary way we have of messing things up is in the timing.
We impatient humans are very prone to running ahead of the right timing on what should be very good things.
God gave humanity the gift of sexuality. He also gave us concrete timing of when we are allowed to enjoy it. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Marriage is to come before sex, that is the proper timing.
God gives us the gift of children. He also gives us unmistakable guidance as to when we should be having them. Since marriage is to come before sex, then marriage is also obviously supposed to come before children. This benefits the children most of all, giving them needed stability, stability that they deserve in the home.
God often gives us the good gift of being able to buy nice things. He also gave us good instruction as to the when. Proverbs 24:27 says, “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.” In other words, when we are gainfully employed and a purchase fits within the confines of our budget, we may consider buying it. But to lean on debt for purchases, especially debt for which we really do not have the means to pay, is a horrible idea. Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
We could go on in this vein forever. For every good thing, timing is essential to make it all it can possibly be. This is not because God is mean; on the contrary it is because he loves us. No gift is ever more enjoyable that the one we wait for just the right moment to open.
You will never have a hard time convincing my bride of that fact.
Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at email@example.com