The Act of Holding Back

Not all of us are patient enough to teach. I count myself among that number.

Although I've taught in small groups and youth groups over the years, though I've taught my child a thing or two, and though I've had to teach a few tasks in the workplace, I struggle to remain a patient instructor. Clearly I can see what needs to be done. Clearly I understand how to do it myself. And when it takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r for someone else to grasp what I already know, I can be a wee bit huffy.

[Sidebar: Because I have a tendency to get frustrated and bossy, especially with my own kin, that's why Steve taught Kaelyn how to ride a bike. That's also why some day it will be Steve who teaches her to drive. I'm already planning on staying far away!]

Have you ever had to teach people something that comes naturally to you? You may wish the lesson to be over. Or you may just not want to see them struggle any longer. In those moments, it's easy to want to grab the task back out of their hands and just do it yourself.

[Sidebar: Insert SNL skit here where Jimmy Fallon plays "your company's computer guy" and yells "MOVE!" to fix a problem himself. Love that!]

But if we're patient enough to allow people to struggle a bit in the learning process, they will grow because of it. They will have to figure it out. If we take over, they learn nothing.

I wonder if that's what God does for us. When I pray, I seek the easy solution. Whatever causes the least amount of struggle for me, for those I love. And sometimes those burdens are lifted. But what about when they aren't? Is God simply ignoring us?

Perhaps God isn't standing far away, doing nothing. Perhaps He's committing the biggest action of all: restraint.

What if God knows that the burdens we struggle with will make us amazing people in the long run? He sees the pain that we endure. But He also sees the end result. Have you ever imagined how hard it is for God to NOT take over? Does His heart break as He holds back His power in order to let us grow?

We'll never fully understand Him. But today this perspective causes me to keep trusting.