iPod Faith
Marybeth Whalen

"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truths and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:4-5 (NIV)

When I was a kid, I had tapes of the music I liked. When I was in college, I had CDs. The point was, when I liked a song, I had to buy the whole tape or CD to get that song.

Sometimes you could buy the cassette single and sometimes you could get lucky enough to tape it from the radio. (Anyone else remember sitting by the radio waiting to catch your favorite song so you could hit record?) But for the most part, you had to buy the whole enchilada.

A funny thing happened when you bought the whole tape or CD, though. Not always, but a lot of the time you found other songs you liked by that artist. Your eyes were opened to other possibilities. (Hang on... I am going somewhere with this...) You discovered a song that you felt like no one else knew about but you because you didn't hear it on the radio. It became personal because it wasn't popular. It was what you found when you were looking for something else.

Now music has changed. One of my kids hears a song and within moments they can get online and have it downloaded to their iPod for $1. No trip to the mall with your hard-earned money, no waiting for your mom to have time to drive you. Just a few clicks and press play. And you also don't have to buy anything you didn't want or know about. You just got what you wanted, when you wanted it. It has revolutionized the music industry. But is it necessarily better that way?

I spent time last week going back through old songs I loved, many of which were songs that were never popular, that most people never heard of. I found them because I had bought the whole tape of some band's latest release. I like them so much because they weren't popular, therefore they didn't get overplayed. They felt mine.

How often I want my faith the way I want my iPod—instant gratification without having to wade through the unknowns. I want what I want when I want it. Point click and play. I don't want God to require me to buy the whole album—to deal with the parts I don't know or like, to take the time to listen to things I might not want to hear.

And yet, I gained a lot from wading through the stuff I never would have tried without being forced. There were unexpected treasures to be found, surprises I ended up valuing more than what I originally set out to find. I wanted to be a mother but I didn't want the sleepless nights and being stretched to the point of breaking. I wanted to be married but I didn't want to learn how to get along with another person day in and day out, to discover what sacrifice really means. I wanted to be a novelist but I didn't want to have to work so hard to make it happen. I wanted to lose weight but I didn't want to exercise daily or control my cravings. I wanted what I wanted, and God used those desires to build my character along the way, and draw me closer to Him in the process.

Call me old school (you wouldn't be the first) but I don't want an iPod faith. Just because it's more convenient or faster doesn't mean it's the best way. Sometimes being open to what you weren't expecting is the best way to find what you were looking for all along.

Dear Lord, help me to remember when You ask me to wait it is for my best. Help me to trust in the process You're taking me through. And help me remember that You are on the other side of every trial, waiting with a new perspective, a new vision, a new hope. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Marybeth’s blog

The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen

Teach this lesson to your kids with Van Walton’s From the Pound to the Palace

Share this lesson with your teens with Alex and Brett Harris’ Do the Hard Thing

Re-visit this lesson yourself with Susanne Scheppmann’s Birds in My Mustard Tree: How to Grow Your Faith

Reflections:

What are some things God has required you to go through that you would have chosen to skip if you could? Are you grateful for them now?

Power Verses:
Psalm 31:3, "Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me." (NIV)

Psalm 143:8, "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul." (NIV)

© 2010 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this devotion. I have been thinking a lot lately about how our world has changed and how that has affected our values. The ease with which we find information now is incredible - there is no searching involved, we just type it into a search engine and wait for the computer to do the work for us. We don't really have to do anything, and I think our relationship with God suffers for it. It could be the case that it gives us more time to spend with God, but instead it changes our brains to think that if we need something, we can get it in an instant. So I want a library faith instead of an internet faith, where I have to dig on my own instead of just taking what Google hands me. I want a crock-pot faith instead of a microwave faith, where I sit and absorb all the richness that God has for me so that it is infused in me instead of just being heated up in a minute, and being cold in the middle and dried out. God has so much for us if we are patient!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since my babies were born two years ago, I have been swimming against the current in my family. I have known God as my savior most of my life but when my babies came into the world everything about me changed for the better - mostly in the area of my walk with God - never have I felt closer to God than I do now as a momma! However this chane in me has caused conflict within my family. No one, sometimes not even my husband seems to understand the kind of mom I am striving to be fir my babies. I quit my job just before their birth and became a full time stay at home mommy. I am thankful that my husband at least supported that decision. Things such as healthy eating, consistent daily routines, stimulating activities, tenderness, unconditional love, complete support, the absence of bad language, age appropriate activities and age appropriate videos, constant prayer and spiritual lessons woven into random activities, talking about God to my babies constantly and reciting scripture to them frequently and so much more are all things I provide for my babies on a daily basis and I take this responsibility very seriously. But no one in my family is taking me seriously.They all think I am a crazy and have said numerous times that the things I worry about don't matter. I am the only SAHM in my immediate family of around 100 people. They just don't get it, and how could they - they dump their kids at daycare everyday so they can have new cars, a bigger house, expensive clothes, fancy vacations, and expensive hobbies. All of these things my husband and I go without so that I can make a home for us. So since my babies were born this has been a daily challenge for me. But I always heard the same message from God everytime I prayed about it . . . "this is a process" and I believe God is telling me that I will eventually bear the fruits of my commitment to my babies regardless if whether or not the rest of my family stops seeing me as crazy fir my chosen path in life . . . he keeps saying to me!! And now I have just read those same words in your devotion this morning!! It was as if someone placed a soft fuzzy blanket over my momma heart!! Thank you - this was exactly what I needed to hear this morning!! So here comes another day of being "just" a mommy - but I am doing God's work so it is so much more than the "just" that so many ate making it out to be!! Thank you!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since my babies were born two years ago, I have been swimming against the current in my family. I have known God as my savior most of my life but when my babies came into the world everything about me changed for the better - mostly in the area of my walk with God - never have I felt closer to God than I do now as a momma! However this chane in me has caused conflict within my family. No one, sometimes not even my husband seems to understand the kind of mom I am striving to be fir my babies. I quit my job just before their birth and became a full time stay at home mommy. I am thankful that my husband at least supported that decision. Things such as healthy eating, consistent daily routines, stimulating activities, tenderness, unconditional love, complete support, the absence of bad language, age appropriate activities and age appropriate videos, constant prayer and spiritual lessons woven into random activities, talking about God to my babies constantly and reciting scripture to them frequently and so much more are all things I provide for my babies on a daily basis and I take this responsibility very seriously. But no one in my family is taking me seriously.They all think I am a crazy and have said numerous times that the things I worry about don't matter. I am the only SAHM in my immediate family of around 100 people. They just don't get it, and how could they - they dump their kids at daycare everyday so they can have new cars, a bigger house, expensive clothes, fancy vacations, and expensive hobbies. All of these things my husband and I go without so that I can make a home for us. So since my babies were born this has been a daily challenge for me. But I always heard the same message from God everytime I prayed about it . . . "this is a process" and I believe God is telling me that I will eventually bear the fruits of my commitment to my babies regardless if whether or not the rest of my family stops seeing me as crazy fir my chosen path in life . . . he keeps saying to me!! And now I have just read those same words in your devotion this morning!! It was as if someone placed a soft fuzzy blanket over my momma heart!! Thank you - this was exactly what I needed to hear this morning!! So here comes another day of being "just" a mommy - but I am doing God's work so it is so much more than the "just" that so many ate making it out to be!! Thank you!!

Blogger Lesa said...

Anonymous,
You are SOOO correct that what you are doing in the day for your babies now has an eternal value. Keep up the good work of walking the walk even of others don't get it...God does and you will see the fruit in your babies as they grow!!
I know I did what you are doing ( though I had support) and it was where I was supposed to be.

Anonymous LivewithFlair said...

What a great post! I'm reading the Children's Bible by Catherine Vos with my daughters, and we waded through her very academic look at Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. But we were filled with DELIGHT when we could see the hand of God in even the hard, complicated part of Scripture. There's so much richness there. www.livewithflair.blogspot.com

Blogger Familyof6inTX said...

Thank you for reminding me that the waiting isn't God ignoring me. I have been wrestling with Him about some changes lately and when the answers haven't come in an instant I have gotten angry and frustrated. I have fallen into the trap of feeling like I need to do more or be better so He'll like me more. Thank you for helping me refocus and remember that sometimes I can learn from the waiting if I will get over myself and pay attention.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh what an AWESOME word from the Lord this morning! How true...how true...how true. I am in a season in my life that 5 minutes ago I would have said I didn't want to live through. But this devotion has opened my eyes that through this season I have learned so much, drawn closer to Him and have a new testimony in the process. To God be glory great things He has done! Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous Wanda in Indiana said...

This is so inspiring that I'm going to use it to launch a lesson for my youth group (jr hi and sr hi). It is a reminder that we need to "wait" upon the Lord and that instant gratification can cause us to miss the "real" blessings.
Thanks for being a vessel of God's truth to me today!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marybeth, thank you for this beautiful devo. I just discovered that my local library has a copy of "Do Hard Things" and I can't wait to read it! I'm also looking forward to reading your latest novel.
Blessings!
Caroline

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Yes, this is a great devotion... because its hard to be still and wait patiently when at the click of the mouse or search engine of the internet. I feel like waiting is just to hard for me, but after reading this devo. my eyes are open to the Spirit of the Lord... "There are blessing in the waiting process for me :o)" so don't be to quick to recevie instant gratification when there is a lot more you can find in the waiting. Thanks you Holy Spirit and thanks P31...

Blogger Julizza Holub said...

What I have realized is important along the way through transformation is that God still gives us the decision to make. We can choose to have the iPod faith--or not. For many of us (I certainly know it is true for me), this is a daily decision; not a one-time win. Herein lies the power of a mighty God--that because He loved you so much, you choose to seek wisdom and understanding, or wade through the tough stuff, to get closer to Him. The tough stuff is what hurts the most, and learning through God will shape you into the person He created you to be. Perseverence is gained, then character, then hope. As it says in Romans 5:3-5 "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." God is telling us that we should not feel ashamed of our trials; that instead we should look for His love to be poured into us through them. Amen to difficult faith!!

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