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It was a typical Monday morning, and I was running late.  Between getting my children and myself ready in the morning, I seem to never have an extra minute to spare.  I hastily climbed in the van and turned it on.  With dread, I noticed that my gas gauge rested on E.  

A wise woman once told me that, when things go wrong, people intrinsically blame either themselves or others.  Well, I can admit it:  I am usually an “other blamer.”  In this instance, my husband got the full brunt of my blame, since he had been the last one to drive the van.  “Why didn’t he fill up the tank?!!!,” I thought.   If he had been sitting next to me at that moment, I’m sure he would have gotten an ear full.

Since I didn’t have time to stop for gas without being late to work, I drove on the fumes of denial, hoping the gas warning light would not come on.  Unfortunately, halfway to work, it lit up.  I called my husband, told him the situation, and asked if he thought I had enough fuel left to make it it to a gas station after work.  He calmly stated that it would be fine, reassuring me that the van had plenty of miles to go before it ran out of gas. So, I switched my focus to work, not giving it another thought.

After work, I remembered that I needed to fill up.  I got back in the van, turned the ignition, and started calculating which gas station was closest.  Glancing at the dashboard, I did a double take. My gas meter now read “full”.  There were only two logical explanations:  either my car’s meter was reading incorrectly or my husband had come and filled up my tank while I was at work.  I called him, and, yes, with our boys as witnesses, my husband had come and filled up my tank.

A full gas tank, thanks to my husband!

 As surprised and grateful as I felt, I was equally ashamed for the anger I had felt towards my husband that morning.   I began thinking about this scenario and realized  that I often treat God the same way.  I cry out to him for help, but often inwardly blame him when I’m stressed that things aren’t working out.  I can get frustrated that He won’t answer my prayers in the way I want and in my time frame.

I’m certainly not the only one with this problem.: Israel, of the Old Testament, was the same way. God longed to care for His chosen people, but they continuously found ways to be angry and disobedient.   God promised to provide for them, but they tried to get their needs met through other means (namely, Egypt).  Still, in the midst of their rebellion, God had Isaiah proclaim to Israel:  

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;  therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!  Isaiah 30:18 NIV

I’m so thankful for the long, enduring mercy of the Lord.  He consistently comes to His people’s rescue.  He longs to show compassion, kindness, and mercy. He enacts justice.

During times of fear and frustration, it’s easy to misread the intentions of others – even our loved ones.  Clearly, I misread my husband’s intentions and was quick to blame him for forgetting to refill my tank.  In the same way, we often misread the Lord’s intentions.  Just as my husband reminded me how much he loves me by coming to my rescue, so the Lord shows love to His people by rescuing them through Jesus.

Pause: Take a deep breath and close your eyes.  Meditate on Isaiah 30:18.  What about that verse stands out to you?

Renew: Spend some time reflecting on how you respond in times of stress and frustration.  Are you a self-blamer or an other-blamer?  Do you find that you misread others’ intentions when you are in this state?  How does this affect your relationships?

Next:  Take time this week to intentionally notice and journal:

  1. When others go out of their way to show you mercy and grace.
  2. Times you notice the Lord is showing you grace and mercy.

Focusing on these areas will change your perspective on your relationships – both with others and with God.

Do you find yourself waiting on the Lord right now? Then, Isaiah 30:18 says you are blessed.  He longs to show you mercy and grace and bring justice. Keep waiting on Him.

Pause, Renew, Next!