Instant Gratification, Later.

Best. Invention. Ever. How do you make the happiest place on earth even happier? Give me a “Get-out-of-line-jail-free” pass also known as the Fast Pass! I haven’t been to Disneyland a whole lot but I’m still amazed that there’s a machine that punches you a ticket to come back and go straight to the front of the line! Seriously, where was this in 5th grade when they sold pepperoni sticks and popcorn during lunch recess? I can’t tell you how many kickball games I missed for that one lousy pepperoni stick.

As I’ve been thinking about Lent I continually run into the same questions. “Why do I have to go through 40 days of _________ before Easter? Can’t I just show up on Easter and celebrate like everyone else?” Great point – if life, faith, and transformation were created by Disney with Fast Pass machines at every fork in life’s road. Why can’t life be more like the lines at Disneyland: see exciting ride, see long line, find a short cut, enjoy ride, repeat. Instant gratification, instantly.

Peter, one who was never big on waiting, explains this idea of waiting for God’s timing in 1 Peter 5:6-8

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded;be watchful. Your adversary the devilprowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

The result of our waiting is something no Fast Pass could ever give us, standing in a place where God “may exalt you”. It’s one thing to tell your friends that you rode the most radical roller coaster at the theme park. Yet it’s an entirely different thing for the creator of the theme park to tell everyone that you rode his roller coasters. Waiting in line is no easy task as Peter acknowledges, which is why these three things are crucial in our waiting.

Cast all your anxiety on God: I’m no fisherman but it’s my understanding that when you cast your fishing line, it is a definitive action where the caster holds no restraint. A weak cast leaves our hook snagged in distraction or frustration. When we cast our anxiety there should be no holding back.

Be Sober-Minded; Watchful: Read “sober-minded” as wise, level-headed and not easily swayed. Likewise read “watchful” as discerning and careful. Waiting is no passive task – it is a season we are called to specific action. If we are bored or easily distracted in our waiting – we aren’t doing our part.

He Cares For You: God is not in the business of being a spoiler. He does not ask us to do anything that steals life from us for the sake of his own enjoyment. Why does he ask us to wait? Why will he hold us under his mighty hand (read: protection, care, provision, healthy boundaries)? So that he may bring us to a place we could never imagine being. And upon arriving at that place where God brings us into his exaltation, our gratification will not last merely for an instant – but for an eternity. For that, I will gladly have my gratification arrive a bit later than planned.