A Road Trip, A 6-Year-Old, and A Father

Last weekend, I had the privilege of taking an 11 hour road trip to Florida with my family. In all fairness, my daughters did a great job being in a car for 11 hours over a 36 hour time period. However, a teachable moment came for me within the first 10 minutes of our journey. After we had left the house, and before we even made it to the highway, my 6-year-old daughter asked if she could have a treat. She was craving an icing-covered brownie. The only problem with her request was that it was 10:15 in the morning! My daughter, being an experienced negotiator, begins to bargain on the appropriate time that she could be awarded the brownie. As we waited at a traffic light, she noticed a police car about 25 feet ahead. She then proposed her deal of a lifetime. Her request: “Daddy, can I have the brownie when we get past the police car?” My response: “No, it is still morning.” Her rebuttal: “It is taking forever.”  Oh, the purification that happens through a family road trip.

My daughter had just taught me a theological truth that I had to spend much time contemplating. Our view of time is greatly impacted by age. To a 6-year-old child, 30 seconds waiting at a traffic light is a long time when waiting for what you crave. As a father, I thought, she had no clue how quickly 30 seconds would pass, or even 30 minutes. However, in that moment all she could see was that her temporary desire was not being met. I knew that I would eventually grant her request, but I would need to delay my answer to her request for a more appropriate time. (10 minutes later… Don’t judge me!)

God is eternal. (Psalm 90:2) He has no age and cannot be measured by time. If I being wicked know how to give good gifts to my children, then imagine what God has prepared for His children. (Matthew 7:11) However, God is not short-sighted but looks through the lenses of eternity. He is viewing our circumstance through the hallways of eternity. He knows what we are experiencing, and how those experiences will prepare us for eternity. I once heard a preacher say that 80 years of suffering pales in comparison to 1 second in glory. (borrowed from Romans 8:18)

For those 10 minutes (again, don’t judge me), my daughter pouted. When God is slow to respond, or chooses not to answer my request, I sometimes respond like a 6-year-old child and pout. I fail to see that God is working out something greater for my good, others’ gain, and His Glory that I may never see until I make it to heaven.