This article originally published in the February 2009 issue of groundswell.

Lessons learned and shared with another.  Whenever my cousin and I talk, I am challenged, encouraged, and I understand a little more about the lessons God has taught me over the years.  This time, I sit in the waiting room of the mechanic’s shop.  We discuss life in general and …groundswell… in particular.

“What I have learned,” I share with her, “is that if all I focus on is that one moment in the future, I will be discontent with everything until then.  All it does is train us to be discontent–so when we get to that moment, not only will we not appreciate it, we’ll find some other reason to be discontent.”

We were talking specifics, but isn’t this true about so many things?  Whether deliverance from a bad job, angry neighbors, or a traffic jam, when all we focus on is the moment of complete deliverance, we miss out completely on the work of God in the meantime.

“There is an appointed time for everything…” –Ecclesiastes 3:1

God has an appointed time for your deliverance.  He also has an appointed time for every step necessary between now and that deliverance.

Imagine the Israelites at the Red Sea, Egyptians chariots close at hand.  The staff goes up, the waters part, the walking begins.

Imagine this (totally fictional) account from an Israelite perspective: “I can’t believe we are here.  Doesn’t God love us?  What is He thinking?  I am so tired of being a slave.  Moses came to lead our Exodus yet here we are still being chased by Egyptians.”  And as the last Israelite toes touch on the far shore, the waves crash in, obliterating their pursuers.  “Well it’s about time we are freed from their yoke!”  As the people of God walk away from the shore, “This doesn’t look like the Promised Land.  What happened to milk and honey?  Here we go again…”

Totally missing the miracles, the waters parting, the dry land beneath, the complete deliverance of the people before the waters crash in on the enemies.  The moment where celebration and praise of victory ring out, tainted by one person’s “it’s about time” and “now what?!?”

We think this is absurd.  We wonder how someone could have this perspective on just this side  of an amazing deliverance.  But don’t we do the same thing?  We pester God, just like the New Testament woman with the judge, and He delivers.  Instead of prostrating in awe, we start pestering about the next thing.  In our single-focused picture of what should be, we miss out on everything happening around us.

“There is an appointed time for everything.”

Living in this exact appointed time does not mean we do not dream of something more.  Instead, we get to dream of “that day” while noticing the everyday miracles around us.  It means trusting God that every moment is the exact moment He is sovereignly in control.  It is then that our clouded eyes see His miraculous Hand working in the everyday.

Why focus on just the dream at the expense of missing out on the everyday?  Why not experience both?

Why not start now?

“There is an appointed time for everything.”

This is your time.  What will you do with it?

photo by Herman Brinkman

Throwbacks are all about bringing in previously-published articles.  These articles appeared back when groundswell was published in the form of an email newsletter.  The photos are newly added to the blog.

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