Process – man, that is a word I really don’t like. I’m definitely not the most patient person in the world. Patience is something I have been trying to work on for a while now, but it’s frustrating because I feel like it’s taking me forever to obtain it (ironic, I know).
We live in such a instant gratification society. As the brilliant young mind of Fatboy Slim once said, “right here, right now”. It has been super easy for me to get caught up in this mentality. As a matter of fact, I’m convinced the reason I don’t really like cooking is because of this mentality. Why should I spend 45 minutes preparing a meal, when I can just microwave something in 2 minutes? (sorry Nicole). I’m a guy who wants quick results. Is there a problem? Let’s find a solution so I can check it off the list.
Opposed to my preference, I’m convinced God loves processes. For example, take the story of Joseph. Joseph (although was a little ignorant and perhaps arrogant when he was younger) loved and followed God. This dude was beat up, thrown into a well, sold into slavery (by his own brothers), thrown into jail (after refusing to sleep with his boss’ wife) yet still continued to seek after God. God blessed Joseph and he became the right hand man to Pharaoh and was in charge of the whole land of Egypt. God ended up using Joseph to save people all over the world from a famine – including his brothers.
Now God could have easily told Joseph ahead of time “Ok man here’s the deal. You are going to go through some tough stuff now. BUT I am going to make you a head hauncho in Egypt and you’re going to be a hero. Cool?” Or God could have easily put Joseph in that position in Egypt without having to go through all the hard times. Instead, Joseph is left to go through these tough times and continue to trust God, not knowing the outcome.
Why does God let us go through these processes? Isn’t it a waste of time? Instead of going through this process, couldn’t we be accomplishing things for His glory and purposes RIGHT NOW?!
I think the reason He allows us to go through tough times, and have to endure processes, is because it is a testing of our faith and these experiences can deepen our relationship with Him. Are we following God because it’s the easy thing to do, or the way we were brought up, or because our friends do? Or are we following God because we truly believe in Him regardless of what others say or do or how tough it gets? After all, Jesus never said following Him would be easy. James 1 says, “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.”
As Nicole and I try to prepare for our trip to Africa this summer, my impatient side is wanting to kick in. I am wanting to question God “God, you could fund this whole trip for everyone faster than Charlie Sheen can say “Winning”, so why is this process taking so long?
I think He allows it to take time so He can work in our hearts. I’m sure God might think it’s kind of cool that we are going to Africa – but God isn’t sitting up on His throne looking down saying “yes, you have finally made it!” It says in Isaiah that our acts of righteousness are like filthy rags to God. So in the end, doing good deeds isn’t necessarily going to matter. It’s how we do it. He just really wants our heart.
I am really looking forward to this trip. I am looking forward to building relationships and blessing the people in Malawi however I can. I am looking forward to seeing how God is going to work in the hearts of everyone on the team. But most of all, I am looking forward to seeing what God is going to do in my heart. Wherever I may be, whether it’s Mesa, AZ, or Malawi Africa, whatever I may be doing, I pray that I can continue to trust God and give Him my heart regardless of how long or difficult the process may be. It may not always be easy, but I am seeing already how God is strengething my faith and walk with Him through it all.
Nicole and I have been so blessed by everyone’s generosity and support so far. We are blessed way beyond what we deserve. We still have a ways to go, but we are going to buckle up, and try to get whatever we can out of the process 🙂