I absolutely loved now and later candy growing up! Actually, I still do. Grape and apple (not that new fancy one) are a few of my favorites. We didn’t know that the word “and” was in between. Instead we called them, “nawlaters.” A sister in Christ brought some to rehearsal recently, and as I reflected fondly of my childhood memory of scraping up ten cents to purchase a pack, I thought about how good God is, not only now, but later. Leave it to me to have a glory moment while chomping on candy. I Chronicles 16:34 proclaims, “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.” Further, now was later previously, which provides evidence to support that God’s goodness will not cease. While the commercial that would accompany my favorite candy rang, “Eat some now, save some for later,” God’s goodness toward us is both for now and later. So then, what makes us forget?
One of the flavors I never liked was strawberry now and laters. I wasn’t fond of cherry either, but strawberry was the worse. However, it always seemed appealing to others around me. They seemed to enjoy it to the extent that I did grape or apple. They also seemed more readily available because everyone liked grape or apple. I would actually trick myself into believing that I forgot what I did not prefer. I would succumb to the pressure, try the strawberry and be disappointed. We often get disappointed when we don’t see the promises of God as readily available to us as those that surround us. As if we’ve forgotten that the manner by which we were taken care of before, will not happen again. In our rush to experience some movement, even if it’s not what we prayed for, we may elect to try what’s tangible to us as opposed to waiting for what is designed for us. Accordingly, we then limit our ability to see God beyond the now. To refute this, we must be able to reflect upon the goodness of God in our history and the extent to which He has the propensity to show up again, even in the later.
Contrary to what we might have been taught, everything we desire doesn’t manifest immediately in the earth. That doesn’t mean that we should or must settle for strawberry so to speak. That further doesn’t mean that we need to be completely still. James 2:17 affirms, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” So then what must we do with choices that lie beneath the promises of God? We do what I sometimes like least, we wait. And not only wait, because that could be with anger, sadness, frustration and the like. Psalms 27:14 instructs in the following manner: “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” I love this verse! Not only are we instructed to wait, but we are instructed about our demeanor during the waiting. We are told to remain courageous and confident, believing that what God has promised to us will come. We further are told that our wait will be strengthened. That is good news, because waiting is difficult without God’s infusion of strength. Finally, just before we might elect to try out the strawberry now and later, we are told again to wait! While waiting, even with courage and strength from God, we still can get weary. We are instructed a second time to wait to combat that quick desire we may be inclined to operate in because what we heard from God and what we see in our proximity do not necessarily line up. Although our desires may not come quickly, God surely will as described in Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” If God is help in trouble, He must certainly be help in the time between strawberry and grape or apple that may not be desperate.
This is not a walk that necessarily comes easier as a result of age or the length of time you’ve walked with God. Today, my 92 year old is expected to close on selling the home she lived in nearly 50 years. She moved away from it a couple of years ago to live with her daughter. Since that time, she had to continue assuming the utilities on the property that get very costly in an area that has a heavy winter. She’s had to maintain the grounds so that the home is presentable for attracting interested persons. There have been countless strawberries on the journey. There have been select apple and grape options that have soured to strawberry in the end. Her faith is what I deem spectacular and yet she still had to wait. The entire family has been on this journey and wavered in our belief that God would do it. However, on the other side of the coin, there was someone all along who believed the promise of God, for them to have a home. Perhaps they too were discouraged many a days, presented with strawberry hopes and dreams. Through it all, God is the same, now and later. I wrote a book a few years ago entitled, “Later Never Came Until Now.” Today, now is later! The wait will be over as the house filled with blessings and memories and abundance transitions to someone else to build their own. Was the wait difficult? Absolutely! But the greater question is, was the wait worth it? Most definitely! Grape and apple now and laters always are. Just like God. Now and later.