in the course of time
I love new ideas. I love beginning something. And I love when everything comes together at the end. But the middle part...well...I struggle.
Has God ever clearly spoken a promise to you? But then weeks, months, years go by and you start to think....maybe I heard that wrong? or maybe I should just make this happen in my own way and my own timing? You are not alone.
The flannel graph version of the Bible from my childhood always made things seem like they happened instantly. God promised Abraham a son and then Issac was born. Noah built an ark, it rained and then a rainbow came out. Moses was found in the basket and then he parted the Red Sea. And on and on the stories played out with only the highlight reel making it up on the board.
What the flannel graph didn't show was the 100 years it took to build the ark and then the year that Noah sat on that smelly boat. Or the forty years Moses spent living in Midian before he appeared before Pharoah. We want to skip over the part that says "in the course of time". We are instead drawn to the exciting part of the story. But there is no story without the long suffering, and sometimes boring, part in the middle. The part of the story where we develop the character for the big moment. The part of the story were we grow in our faith. A faith that learns how to trust and obey in the middle of the story.
Sometimes God does answer with an immediate yes or no. I find most often in my life it looks more like Exodus 23 when God promises to give the land to His people "little by little"...
I will not drive them out before you in a single year, that the land may not become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. I will drive them out before you little by little, until you become fruitful and take possession of the land.
Our Father longs to be compassionate towards us and He is ALWAYS faithful. He will not give us something that is going to destroy us. He will first build us into who we need to be to receive the blessing. The waiting is not a punishment, it is a gift of love. Sometimes we need the year on the smelly boat before we can truly appreciate the joy of the rainbow or the forty years in Midian to become the man who will lead an entire nation.