Let’s talk about delayed gratification.

I’ve always been the worst about this. Well, I suppose until pretty recently.

Remember Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Remember her demands of “I want it, and I want it now!” Even as a child I remember thinking how she reeked of American entitlement (even though she happened to be British). But really, what was so wrong with getting what you want?

I have a feeling we’ve been living the nightmare of that prospect in this country for the past couple of years now.

This is one of those places where the Bible is “no fun.” Peter talks about our flesh waging war against our soul (1 Peter 2:11). Our flesh isn’t necessarily our bodies but our human desire to satisfy what we should often very well leave alone. Because what we really want deep down isn’t above board. We want sex and money and power and trips to the Caribbean and filtered selfies on Instagram. We want it all, and we want it now.

But let me tell you a little story. There once was a woman named Ericka. She thought exactly like Veruca. And then at the age of thirty, God had her life come to a crashing halt. What was interesting is that this halt took place right after she had accepted Christ and gotten baptized. And I think this was God’s way of saying: do you really want to follow me?

Yes, with everything in my being.

So we were $70,000 in debt. No job prospects. About to move to a new town in a different state.

But I remember clearly giving it all to Jesus. I knew he would redeem what we had royally managed to mess up.

It was a hard five years of work-sweat staining my blouses and a perpetual migraine in my temple. It was bouts of crying in my car while reading my devotional because I didn’t want to go inside to manage people. Oh yeah, that’s right. God somehow promoted me to senior manager although I had never managed people in my life.

I was scared. And through it all I got to watch people go on some really great vacations via Facebook while we were eating beans and rice and saving everything we had to pay off our debts.

And for the first time in my life, I was so glad to not be Veruca.

Paul says, “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). The whole time we were in this pinch we never stopped giving to God. I did it (and still do) with my whole heart. Because His money is not our money. He’s simply allowing us to manage it.

And he had given us another chance to prove we could handle it.

Now we’re completely out of debt and our mortgage is paid off. We live in a smaller, comfortable home we’re updating with what we’ve saved up. My husband has a wonderful job, and I’m able to stay home to write and homeschool our daughter. And most importantly, I’m no longer a slave to my own entitlement.

The best things are the hard things, the ones where God gives you room to roam so you can either prove you’re for Him or against Him.

And if you really trust Him and are willing to delay your own gratification at the foot of the cross, He will make your paths straight and guide you out of your own mess into a relationship with Him.

What more could we want?

2 responses to “Let’s talk about delayed gratification.”

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