An Autism Diary

A day in the life of David Hartley

He Has Something Better

The other day, the boys and I got to go on a very special trip; we went to meet Thomas the Tank Engine in person!  Both boys are huge fans of his, so when a family member made it possible to get the tickets, I had to find a way to make the trip happen.  However, because David struggles with waiting, and I didn’t want to deal with the meltdowns that would be inevitable if we didn’t see Thomas within his timeframe, I decided to keep the trip a secret and simply told them I was taking them to a surprise.  Overall, this idea worked well, even though I had to assure David a few times that waiting for the surprise would be worth it and promise him that he would enjoy it.  Sure enough, once we got to Thomas, David and Joshua were both thrilled to pieces and soaked up every second of their time there. 🙂

As I was thinking back about our adventure though today, after having had a chance to rest up again from it, I recalled having to re-direct David’s attention several times to wait for the surprise I had planned instead of settling for much smaller enjoyments. The event was a few hours away and we passed through several towns during our travels. This meant we also passed by several places that David decided were great enough to be the surprise he was so anxiously waiting for and therefore would beg me to stop. Things like parks, playgrounds, and even a couple of restaurants that he likes. Realizing that we were on a tight schedule and knowing what laid in store for us at the destination I originally planned, I refused to stop at these smaller spots even though David made it clear that he would be thrilled enough to do so. I wanted the best for him and I didn’t want him to settle for anything less, no matter how great he would think it was.

As I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that I must have gotten a small taste of what God goes through with us. How many times have we, with our limited vision and urge for quick satisfaction, tried to settle for something far less great than God had in store for us? We can’t see the bigger picture or what lies ahead, so as soon as we see something we think we like, we assume it would be the best thing for us and sometimes even go as far as begging God to make it so. However, God, in His loving patience, refuses to let us settle for less than what He had planned and gently continues to nudge us forward toward His goal for us. Sometimes He may even have to pry our fingers off and drag us away from what we mistakenly believe is the best thing we could have, simply so He can continue to take us to His true best.

When this happens, we are given a choice.  We can either continue to fight against Him and cling to what we have already found, or we can trust Him and know that He only says “no” with good reason.   Choosing the latter allows us to rest in Him as we wait for something that must be far better than we could even imagine.  David learned this in a small way when he chose to be patient and wait on me, even though it meant passing up all those amazing playgrounds, parks, and other places he saw along the way.  If we had stopped at the smaller enjoyments, we never would have made it to the biggest one that he will undoubtedly treasure for years to come.

How about you and me?  Are we currently settling for small joys that seem great to us simply because we don’t know what lies further down the road for us?  Are we begging God to let us stop the journey where we are instead of continuing forward into the unknown and sometimes anxious future?  Or will we, like David, choose to place our trust in the One in the driver’s seat and simply enjoy the ride until we get to the real destination?

Although the latter choice tends to be a more difficult one to go with at times, it is my goal to pursue it more than the first one.

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