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Delayed Gratification

Something my dog and my grandson have in common: They both have trouble with the concept of "Later . . ." "No treat right now, Sherlock ; I'll give you your dog cookie LATER." "Zayde has to work right now, Aiott; I will play Z-cars (short for "Zayde cars") with you LATER." They want their perks NOW, and no delay. I can get frustrated at the sadness and frustration THEY experience, because they don't have a clear grasp of the concept of "Delayed (or Deferred) Gratification." Elliot will understand eventually. It is the lot of furry quadrupeds that Sherlock probably never will (though I know he will still faithfully love me, in spite of the constant disappointment I have turned out to be!). But isn't it terribly disconcerting when the Lord takes your sparkling insight about OTHERS, and turns it around in your head until it reads in neon-blazoned letters, "THOU, Ernst, ART THE MAN" (II Samuel 12:7). Like Inigo Montoya, the sword fighting Spaniard of "Princess Bride," I HATE WAITING. I do like my gratification instantly, if not sooner (Tall, decaf, with a double shot of caramel, please!)! Delayed Gratification, though, is one of the key concepts of the book of Hebrews. He says of Abraham: "And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise" (6:15) And we are exhorted to follow his example (6:11-20). Of the patriarchs: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, they were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth; For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country" (11:13-14). Of Moses: "Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season . . . FOR HE HAD RESPECT UNTO THE RECOMPENSE OF THE REWARD" (11:24-26) Of the Lord: "Who, FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM, endured the cross, despising the shame" (12:2). Again and again in this great epistle, we are called to "patiently endure," that we might receive the promise, the reward, the 'joy set before us' (see especially 3:6-4:11; 6:10-12; 10:32-39; 13:10-14, just for starters). "For here we have no continuing city, BUT WE SEEK ONE TO COME" (13:14). The Lord most definitely has our back. We will get our come uppance, AND THEN SOME "(He will be no man's debtor -- Romans 11:35)! But we are called to endure, to wait, and to run the race WITH PATIENCE. As Paul wrote, "For we are saved by hope; But hope that is seen is NOT hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for what we see not, then do we with patience WAIT for it" (Romans 8:24-25). Saw an atheist news commentator on CNN at Thanksgiving time a few years ago. He said he had great admiration for the early Puritans. He could not brook their theology, of course, but he said he couldn't help but admire them, because they so firmly held to and lived by a concept he believed modern Americans know very little, if anything, about . . .

Delayed Gratification.

WAITING for the realization of our true joy and fulfillment. Not here, not now, Sherlock (or Aiott, or Ernst, or ________________?) . . . LATER.

"For ye have need of patience, that, AFTER ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come WILL come, and will not tarry" (Hebrews 10:36-37).


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