November 14, 2016
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 (NIV)
A few years ago, our family took a vacation to the place where dreams come true, Walt Disney World Resort, one of the largest amusement parks in the United States. To prepare for the trip, I read websites and blogs and interviewed “experts” (a.k.a., friends who call Walt Disney World their favorite place on earth), so we could maximize our time there.
In my research, I discovered something called a FastPass, which gives you access to the most popular rides without having to wait in long lines. You get a ticket ahead of time, allowing you to go to the front of the line at an appointed time. It is ideal for girls like me who don’t like to wait.
Each evening, my family would map out our ride plan. When the park opened the next morning, we would rush to the FastPass machine. Our ride plan could not have worked out any better, but of course we were where dreams come true.
Real life, though an adventure, is far from a day at an amusement park. Too often, we want a FastPass straight through God’s pauses to move directly to His plan. But God seldom hands out passes so we can avoid the wait and skip to the front of the line.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as painful as it feels at the time.
A rush through the wait has the potential to stunt our spiritual growth and dull our senses to what God wants us to learn. As the apostle James tells us in today’s key verse, God wants us to “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4).
James advises those who follow Jesus not to take the FastPass through tests and challenges. He says that a pause will actually work in our favor. Our faith will mature, and we will become well-developed women of God, ready for all the good works He has prepared for us. God is the Creator of time. We can trust His pauses to be purposeful and perfectly arranged. God will make the most of our pause, and we should too.
As we wait, we find ourselves in great company. Noah waited 120 years for the flood. Abraham and Sarah waited nearly 100 years to become parents. Jesus waited 30 years to start His public ministry. These and countless others waited on God and in the wait experienced Him in remarkable and miraculous ways.
I know what you’re thinking: But he was Noah. They were Abraham and Sarah. And He was Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God. They’re all in the Bible! Rest assured, they are indeed all in the Bible, but not because of their perfection in waiting. Each one of them had moments of questioning God, but they were willing to wait and do the work necessary for God’s plan to come to fulfillment.
Waiting isn’t meant to be a grueling process. What if we view it as a pause or an interlude, a place we can experience the peace of God while He works in us so He can work through us? He is actively working while we wait — a promise that never disappoints in the end.
Dear God, waiting is hard and waiting well seems impossible. As I wait, help me see the good around me, rather than feeling neglected and dismissed. Lord, when I grow impatient, remind me how You are trustworthy and have my best interest in mind. Thank You for the good plans You have prepared for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Lamentations 3:25, “The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.” (NIV)
When waiting on God takes longer than expected, we might begin to doubt His promises. If you’re looking to gain confidence in God’s plans, even during uncertain times, join us for our free Online Bible Study which just launched last week — there’s still time to join us! We’re going through Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans, a brand new book by Wendy Pope. Register now!
Hop over to Wendy’s blog for a chance to win a Wait and See bundle of goodies.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What are some of your biggest obstacles to waiting? Conquer the power of waiting today by allowing someone to pull in front of you in traffic or order before you at a restaurant.
© 2016 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.