Instant, yes, and comfort showers our daily lives.
Fast food. Flip of a switch. Push of a button.
And voila! Hunger dismissed. Room’s alight. TV blares.
It appears as if we humans thrive on easy and convenient. We are so spoiled that waiting and not yet are foreign words. Though instant might make life easier, some of them aren’t necessarily better. We gobble up unhealthy food. Throw tantrums when something doesn’t happen instantly. Baking a cake from scratch? Oh the horror! Why cook a meal on a stove if shoving it in the microwave is so much quicker? In a world flocked with instant and yeses, what about patience? Where does God’s instruction for us to be patient come in?
Have you ever approached the Lord for something, and out of His abundant love, He favored you with it? Yup. It’s happened to me as well. There had been events where He said yes, even before I needed to inquire. I will be straightforward, those are the best times. But, God has also said no to me. I’m not very enamored with a no, particularly not when it’s a no to something I truly want. But, in the end, I know it’s for my own good. The same way I’ll need to say no one day to my son when he wants dessert, yet declines to have veggies, or wants to avoid his shower in the wake of playing outside. It might not be comfortable to hear a no, but rather it is fundamental.
Sadly, I battle with the not yets. I can deal with a yes and a no. Since the starting and the end is clear for both. Yes you can. Yes, pull out all the stops. No you can’t. No, don’t. But, the not yet? What do you do with that? What about a time span, Lord? It would be ideal if You’d be somewhat more specific? Not yet? Whenever then? In a day? A year? More painfully, what do I do meanwhile?
Of course everyone experiences a not yet or perhaps several. A dear friend of mine has been in the not yet for a husband for a long time, another one for a baby. My own life’s peppered with the not yets. I try to hide my not yets, tuck them away because they are oh-so-tender. But what if I’m handling my not yets wrong? What if those not yets need room to breathe? What if I need to stop acting as if I’ve been struck with a batch of the incurable-unnamable-deadly-disease called not yet’? I suspect many of my other friends are in the same boat as me, hiding their not yets from the world. Hoping no one would notice or that it would go away.
My longest stretch of not yet is with my writing journey. And it’s discouraging when I look around me and my fellow writers aren’t in the not yets with their writing. Disheartened I try to speed up the process. I try another route or method, and even attempt to negotiate with the Lord. Obviously, none of those work. Recently, I started meditating on my not yet – I can’t help to wonder if I shouldn’t change my vantage point. God’s delay might just be a delay and not denial. Just because I haven’t snatched up a publishing contract, haven’t had a ‘this is perfect’, doesn’t mean God’s not going to answer me, or that He’s ignoring or forgotten about me. After all, God gave me the desire to write. He’s the giver of dreams, talents and gifts.
Learning to plow through the not yet is part of maturing in Christ. It’s not necessarily easy, but it’s possible. Sarah’s not yet lasted twenty-five years. The Israelites wandered the desert for forty years. If you’re struggling with discouragement because your not yet feels like forever, remember God might be teaching you patience. A quality that I think is declining in our fast paced lives. He can transform your discouragement into patience, you need only ask. So take heart, wander your not yet. God is perfecting the good work He started in you.
Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9