A few nights ago as we were getting ready to eat dinner as a family, I was in the kitchen making more than a few cooked peanut butter sandwiches with coconut oil for Darwin and I to take with us the following morning en route to a two-day conference we would be attending several hours away. From the conference I would be flying directly to the United States for my first visit in two and a half years.
I had five eager kids circled around me, observing my every move, when suddenly everyone’s interest level skyrocketed: Mom was slipping a few Hershey kisses in the middle of each sandwich!
Hershey chocolate and peanut butter are delicacies in Honduras, and this delicious combination it is not something I have made more than once or twice in three years of living here. Suddenly little hands that thought they were quite sneaky started sliding a Hershey kiss or two off the countertop and into their pockets. It was all quite obvious that the kids were chocolate-crazy, and I laughed and said, “If only you would be patient…” already knowing what I had in store for them.
As I cooked sandwich after sandwich in coconut oil, then wrapping them in aluminum foil to be ready for the next day, little people with guilty hearts would come over to me, laughing, showing the three or four or ten Hershey kisses they had ‘stolen’ before then returning them to the countertop. I kept laughing at their antics and said to no one in particular, “If only you would be patient…”
Little did they know that I had already prepared a special gift for each one of them that I would leave on their bed the next morning as a surprise: a cup full of 25 Hershey kisses, a ‘kiss’ for each day that I would not see them.
So as I continued preparing the sandwiches, 10-year-old Gleny put words to everyone’s question: “Are you and Dad going to eat all those sandwiches?” Translation: Can I have one?
I laughed, ignoring the question and merely re-stating what I had already said several times before.
The next morning as all seven of us rolled out of bed at 4:30am to get ready for another day of school and work for some, travel for others, we all knew it would be our last morning together for three and a half weeks. As everyone shuffled out towards our car parked in the front yard, I made sure the kids had left the house before quickly running into our bedroom to get the little plastic cups full of Hershey kisses to place on each kid’s bed along with a letter and some photos for them to find later in the day once I was already gone.
About 25 minutes later as we pulled into the drop-off point for Gleny and Jason to go to their elementary school, I pulled out of my backpack an aluminun foil-wrapped peanut-butter-and-Hershey-kiss-sandwich for each of the five kids. Each one looked genuinely surprised and then laughed somewhat guiltily as I could almost magically see the thought crossing their mind: Oh, mom was going to give me a sandwich all along. If only I would have been patient…
So this is not a story just about Hershey kisses hidden in people’s bunkbeds or delicious sandwiches way too early in the morning. How many times do we behave just like the children, impatiently grabbing or sneaking the good stuff, thinking that our Father God hasn’t remembered us or doesn’t have the best in store for us? I imagine that our Heavenly Parent looks down upon our foolishness, grabbing a Hershey kiss here and there or trying to guilt Him into giving us a bite of a sandwich while He thinks If only you knew that I have 25 Hershey kisses for you and a whole sandwich, if only you would be patient…
How many of we humans hide out, taking into our own control our God-given sex drive, watching pornography or indulging in extramarital relations while God’s heart breaks, knowing that He has one of many available gifts — the fullness of marriage for some, joyful purity in singleness for others — for us if only we would be patient and trust Him. How many of us jink and jive, striving and manipulating, trying to take care of ‘number one’ in the process of acquiring great material wealth and status, thinking that if we don’t look to get ahead then we’ll be left down and out, while Jesus’ heart breaks for our foolishness, calling to deaf ears to look at the riches of His Kingdom that He has for us, which cannot be bought with anything other than His own blood.
So next time you and I are stressed about a financial concern or inclined to scheme and grab or we forget that the riches of God’s Kingdom wait undisturbed for His faithful servants, I pray that we would remember to be patient, however simple it may sound. Just like a thoughtful parent who has already decided to give a good gift to their child despite the child’s impatience, foolishness and attempted guilt trips, Father God has the same heart for those who have been adopted into His great family.
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! — Jesus as recorded in Matthew 7:11