Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Promise before the process . . .


As a young child, my dream was to be the brightest of stars. I imagined being the leading lady in wildly successful movies, TV shows, plays, and joining the elite club of E.G.O.T. (Emmy, Golden Globe, Oscar, Grammy) recipients. I voiced this dream to very few people instead shared a more practical course, though I never truly tuned out the desires of my heart.


While in my sophomore year of college God sent me a sign that the dreams I guarded so closely were in fact aligned with His plan for my life. Sitting with my laptop opened to my school’s ‘declare a major’ home page, I saw a commercial that stopped me in my tracks. It was an advertisement for an internship at a television network. Before then, I didn’t consider that God could explicitly lead me to a career, especially not one I wrote off as the fantastical musings of a child. I underestimated exactly how concerned God is about the details of our lives.


The first few months after I made this revelation were some of my most jubilant, daily I went through my normal routine of work, school, and internship believing God was going to bring my dreams into fruition that very day. Eventually my elation turned into frustration: I received the internship, shot a television pilot for my own talk show, competed in beauty pageants, and even won a title. Yet after all those things I’d made no progress towards my goals. Constantly I questioned how I could be struggling if God wants this for my life?


In my mind a prompting from The Lord, a confirmation of his will even meant an instantaneous blessing absent of tribulation. What I did not understand at the time is, the promise comes before the process. Joseph had a dream, two dreams, which led him to understand God had a great plan for his future (Genesis 37 vs. 5-9). What he wasn’t shown was that he would be sold into slavery, thrown in jail, and face many other challenges in the thirteen years between the time he has the dream and the time it is fulfilled. But all the obstacles he faced in that time span were necessary to propel him to his destination. It’s difficult accepting that all the trials and tribulations he endured were part of the process to get to the blessing but they were.


The greatest lesson I’ve learned in the ten years since I received God’s promise over my life is: God is most concerned about your soul, He will bless you but not before you are ready to receive it. I’m going to say something that maybe a little unpalatable though nonetheless true. Before you can receive the blessing that no eye has seen or ear has heard there is a preparation period.


“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

1 Peter 1 vs. 7


My ‘preparation period’ has shown me how unprepared I was, how feeble in faith I was despite believing myself to be faithful. During my time in the desert, as I like to call it, I’ve gotten to know God as a parent who provides, disciplines, and guides. I’ve learned God is no hurry He is a patient teacher. God will allow you to retake the test as many times as you need to pass but He will not let you move on to the next level without first demonstrating you understand the material. The Lord will not give you a blessing you are not spiritually mature enough to be a good steward over.


It’s taken me a long time to get to a place where I can thank God for making me wait. If God gave me the promise without going through the process of building my character I would have squandered it, or worse, lost my walk with Christ. Throughout all the tears and frustration in my camp in the desert, The Lord has never forsaken me nor has He surrendered me to destruction. I’ve been battle tested and beat down into fine dust but The Lord restores my soul.


If you are like me, in the midst of your process, I encourage you to keep your eyes fixed on God. Waiting does not mean God has forgotten you it means He cares too much about you to let you pay with your soul for the gain of the world. God has a plan to bless all who belong to Him but you must stay in the process no matter how difficult or lonely it gets. Remember in the moments you feel God cannot hear or see you those are the periods He’s carrying you through. I urge you today to seek God not because of how He can bless you but because He is worthy to be praised.


“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

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