Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
When I was younger I used to skip around while reading fiction. I wanted to know if whatever situation resolved, the girl got the right guy, if someone lived to the end or if the ending was so predictable I didn’t need to read the middle. Stories worth reading had that piece of unknown in the middle. That twist that makes your heart skip and think “oh, this is good.” You can’t skip to the end without missing key points in the mastery of a good plot. Good books make you read the whole thing.
In my life story, I want to skip around and see how things will happen.
I’m always trying to peek ahead to the culmination of the hard won or lost moments. I want to know the details while still living in the details. So I think about it and with all my idealistic tendencies at the forefront, I daydream. But when I focus too much on the place I would like to be, I miss how the little pieces of the pathway I’m on now are fitting together to make the rest of my story possible. And sometimes forget about the work necessary to get there.
I want to know the whole plan all at once. I wonder about the building at the end even though laying the brick (by brick, by brick) at my feet is the only way to get there. A brick in a pathway. A step on a journey.
I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive [the canaanites] out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.
I came across this verse in Exodus a week or two ago. It is talking about how God gave the Israelites possession of the promised land very gradually instead of quickly. Even though to me a year seems gradual, He said he wouldn’t even do it in a years time. It would take longer. Much longer in fact. He had the process figured out: Instead of overwhelming them with the riches/trials of the land immediately, He eased them into it until their resources and maturity were great enough to handle the needs.
I need to remind myself, most of the time, how God does the same with our giftings/callings. I see glimpses of what it might look like to walk more fully in my gifting, but then sometimes in the overwhelming of “How do I get there??” I lose sight of the actual process that is now. Each step I take, diaper I change, word I read or write, and moment I spend is part of that process.
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Even if we get a glimpse of what we are supposed to be doing with our lives it might take years of faithfully following God before it begins to look how we thought it might (and it will probably look quite different!).
On reality, those years are really a grace.
Instead of immediately being given the unseen responsibilities woven into our dreams, we are eased into them. We learn about God, ourselves, and that situation we are pursuing. We are given opportunity to mature. we have time to grow and learn and wait and live more life. Our ideas and talents become more refined and we have more experience following God.
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”
The breathtaking twists in the plot have forced us to lean on Him a little more.
We cannot do what we were made to do without living the life we were made to live.
The mundane or difficult moments in between are what make our stories good ones. I have to keep taking the little steps in front of me before I can look back and see the whole story.
It’s hard work getting from where we are now to where we feel like we’re supposed to be, but God has it all worked out.
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Keep taking those steps.
Do you see God doing things gradually in your life instead of all at once?
How do you rest in the tension of waiting and wanting?
How do you live in the tension of being actively involved with the process while staying aware of the bigger picture?
An excellent book on story is A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story by Donald Miller. If you are thinking about how to life your life well you should read it. Live a good story.
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