Trials, difficulties, problems & disappointments are like rocks… they come in different sizes, colors, & shapes.
What adds weight to trials is the wait
At the end of 2015, my wife and I shipped a container from South Brasil to California. The movers promised, “The ship will dock in California in 30 days and the container will arrive at your new home in Arizona by mid-February”. Allowing wiggle room for delays we made additional travel plans to fly to New Jersey on March 1st. Once stateside, broker agents changed the containers’ delivery time three times. The wait grew into a nightmare. When the container was detained for additional inspection in mid-February I panicked. Uncertainty and possible ruined travel plans left me frazzled. In the end, the container arrived four days before we needed to travel. Along with it, a major case of shingles unloaded itself on my torso.
Ever struggle with the wait time?
- You approach a red light from ten car lengths back. You quickly scan the lanes and move towards a lane with the least number of cars.
- As you prepare to wheel your cart to the grocery store check-out counter you maneuver it from check-out lane to check-out lane looking for the one with the least number of grocery carts.
- Your mate asks you to tag along while she tries on new dresses. So you pull up a chair and wait while she models a dozen or so outfits trying to decide which one best fits her mood, style, and taste today. An hour later she chooses an outfit she tried on earlier.
But the stickiest problems are worse than the “everyday garden variety”
Recently, my wife was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. The same kind her mother and older sister experienced earlier. The doctor prescribed first one biopsy and then another. She spent a few sleepless nights waiting for each biopsy and the lab reports. Thankfully, the final lab results cleared her of cancer. But, the waiting was excruciating.
Ever faced a problem where you were forced to wait for a solution?
- You had a serious job interview when you were jobless. The company took 30 days to give you a response.
- Your son’s college application forms got lost in the mail. The acceptance window was slated to close soon.
- A medical specialist tells your family member they need surgery. Recovery rates are high, but the procedure is risky. The surgery goes longer than expected.
- Your insurance agent isn’t sure if the hail damage on your roof will be covered by your current policy.
Let me ask, what is the hardest part, the problem itself or the uncertainty of waiting for a solution?
For Christ-followers, God has made promises concerning the wait…
Promises like these…
- … he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Ph. 1.6 NIV
- But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Rom. 8. 25 The Message
- But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint. Is. 40.31 KJV.
- And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives II Pet. 3.14 NLT
- I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us Rom. 8.16 NIV
While these promises are great, one question lingers, why do we have to wait?
Doesn’t God know that times have changed? –
The truth of the matter is, God often uses trials in an effort to build something into us that is stronger than creature comforts, competency or cleverness. It’s called character.
In the midst of trials, I believe that God often prunes our egos and refines our motives. He also wants us to align with His purposes and focus on His fame. But, more importantly, He wants us to experience a greater joy – being connected to Him.
In reality, God is ultimately in charge. He uses our trials and troubles and even the waiting room to prepare us for something better. So why not pull up a chair and trust that the wait will be worth it. It always is!
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