One day when Taylor and Caleb were small, we stopped at Arby's drive-thru to grab lunch. The line was long...noon time long and moving at a snail’s pace.
Our stomach growled for more than fifteen minutes before we ever ordered. Then when we finally pulled up to order our delicious roast beef sandwiches, I got this response: "We are out of roast beef."
Yes, you heard me right. Out of ROAST BEEF! Why are they open? And why weren't they telling all of us in this dumb line this very relevant information before we got to the little black box? Could they not put up a sign or something?
Yeah, I'm still mad about it.
Mick Jagger was right. You can't always get what you want.
That day I had an expectation that Arby's (a restaurant that proclaims "Arby's Roast Beef Sandwich Is Delicious!") would provide those sandwiches; but they couldn't deliver. They had no roast beef. Arby's could not give me what they did not have.
In the same way, I can look to other people and have expectations about what they are to provide for me. Some of my expectations may be completely reasonable, but if the person I'm looking to help doesn't have what I need, then he can't give it.
When my need for food wasn't met by Arby's that day, the need didn't go away. I was still hungry. My kids were still hungry. We had to begin looking for another source of sustenance. We found another place to eat.
When my need for comfort is not being met by Kevin, I have to go to another source. God has given me friends, family, and Himself. There have been times when all I needed was a heart to heart with God. The simple reminder that He loves me, values me, and has not forgotten me is often enough. And there have been moments when I have needed Jesus with flesh on (a safe friend) who could listen and empathize with me. There have been many days when being around my family for a holiday celebration filled my heart with what was missing.
God calls us to be the Body of Christ here on earth. In Ephesians 4:2, we are instructed to "be patient, bearing with one another in love." This is the practical working out of that verse. I have had to learn to be patient with others, receiving them where they are and recognizing they can't give me what they don't have. As human beings, we have limited supplies of patience, love, mercy, and roast beef. We run out of these things. But, God, who is rich in mercy, is always in full supply.
Karen loves to write and lead women's support group. She is learning to walk in God's grace day to day as well as learning to extend that grace to others. You can follow her blog at karencone.org