A couple of months ago Phoebe, who just happens to be the cutest little four year old in the whole word…and my daughter, got a brand new Little Mermaid doll and was really wanting to play with it. Of course you can’t just play with a mermaid doll on the couch or in your bed room…you have to be in the bath tub. So all night I was hearing over and over again, “Daddy can I take a bath…Daddy…Daddy can I please take a bath.”
She wore me down with cuteness and I said, “Yes, sweetie, I’ll get you a bath.” And you would think that I would have immediately sprung into action…but it had been a long day and, well you get the picture there is always an excuse.
But something strange happened. Phoebe came up to me and gave me a big hug and said, “Thank you Daddy for giving me my bath.” Now I am still trying to figure this out…why was she referring to something that hasn’t happened yet in the past tense. Is she a master manipulator, or does she just so totally trust me that if I say something it is like it has already happened.
1 Samuel 1 tells the story of Hannah who was desperate for a child. Her heart ached before the Lord…she was crying out for a child. Her prayers were so intense that the priest Eli thought that she was drunk. So let’s just saying it like it is…she was a hot mess. But then the prophet said something, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.”
Of course her belly didn’t automatically get big…she didn’t instantly have weird cravings for pickles and icecream…and she didn’t have to use the bathroom five hundred times in the middle of the night. But something did change immediately. She left that meeting with the prophet…happy. Why? Nothing really happened did it?
Something did…she had received a promise that hadn’t yet been fulfilled but she behaved like it was a done deal. It was a future promise with a past tense attitude.
Is there a promise that God has given you that you are still questioning or wondering about? What are you waiting on and hoping for? Has God already given his word? Then its as good as done…
Maybe it is manipulation, or maybe it is the faith of a child…but it seems very appropriate to begin thanking HIM for promises that He gave that haven’t yet been received. Maybe it is time to give past tense gratitude.