It was a hot day. My husband, his sister, brother in law and I were in Cape Town for their step-mother’s memorial service. As we passed Steers, I decided to buy us all ice creams. I watched the friendly lady pull the lever on the soft serve machine and expertly twirl three ice cream cones. When it came to the fourth, mine, the machine gave a little prrrhp and spurted a last blob the size of a marble and stopped. The lady trotted off to the back and returned with a large plastic container of ice cream liquid. She put in about a third of the contents and tried the lever again. Understanding a little about the freezing process, I told her I would come back in five minutes. Five minutes obviously wasn’t long enough. She pulled the lever. She switched all the switches off and on. She opened and closed the door. she pulled the lever. Nothing. She got help. He switched off and on and opened and closed the door. No matter what they did, no ice cream came out of that orifice. Finally I got my money back and left ice-cream-less.
This was a parable for me. God is not an ice-cream machine and praying is not pulling a lever. Even if we try tricks that we have been told about, like fasting, or naming and claiming, sometimes our Father just wants us to be patient. Nothing we can do will speed up the process. At the time, the Lord had wonderfully undertaken for us in ensuring that my husband and I got cheap plane tickets and organised that the cottage which my brother-in- law rents out was vacant for two nights. (I can thoroughly recommend it, by the way.) We knew He was going to provide for another two nights but, although all four of us had sat on our cell phones for over three hours looking for accommodation that was reasonably priced and could accommodate us all, we still had nowhere to stay by that evening.
You will have guessed it. We were not left to sleep in the streets of Cape Town. We had another two lovely days together, exploring Kirstenbosch and Stellenbosch and interacting with family and friends.