God, Could You Speed Up The Perfecting?


Once I learned how to read there was no stopping me.  The library was only a couple of blocks from our house and in the summer, my brother and I would walk to it almost every day.  I would check out a pile of books in the morning and bring them back that afternoon.  This was before computers, so a very irate librarian would sift through unfiled cards to check in the books. She finally made a rule that we could not return books on the same day; I just checked out a bigger stack.  When my babies were little, I would read at least one romance novel while they were taking an afternoon nap.  My reading list has matured somewhat, but my love for the written word has not diminished.

While not exactly a speed reader, I am a fast reader.  I have trained my eyes and brain to pick out all the key words on the page so that I don’t have to read every word.  If something suddenly just doesn’t make sense I reread the last paragraph.  Consequently, I miss some of the insignificant details but I can always tell you the plot and conclusion of the book.   This is usually the way I watch television also.  I can watch TV, read a magazine and carry on a conversation with my husband at the same time.  I’m not sure if Steve is listening but he has learned to nod at the appropriate times.  Again, if I miss a key element, the DVR allows me to replay the scene or I just ask Steve.  I may miss a few details but the movie always ends with the good guy winning.

As you can guess, I am not the most patient person in the world and I am usually anxious to move on to the next book, task or project.  Sometimes, I fear that this character flaw shows up in my walk with God.  Many times God has put a desire or a dream in my heart and immediately, I am off my knees and ready to “get the show on the road.”  I may miss a few details but if God gave the dream to me, it will turn out ok because He always wins.  And God says, “Yes, I always win, but you, on the other hand, need a little perfecting.”

Abraham was given a promise if he would follow God to an unknown land.  God promised Abraham that he would be a father of a great nation.  Now Abraham was a very detail-oriented person and God had forgotten one very important detail or so he thought.  Abraham and Sarah were approaching old age and not one child had been born.  Being a man of superior intelligence, Abraham reasoned you can’t exactly have a nation if you can’t even have a child.  Abraham decided to help God with this very important detail and fathered Ishmael by Sarah’s maidservant.  God had not forgotten His promise or any of the details and although God blessed Ishmael and made a great nation of him, Ishmael’s descendants continue to cause Isaac, the true son of promise, all kind of problems to this very day.  How much smoother life would have been for his children if Abraham had only waited until God was ready to fulfill the promise.

As a young man, Joseph dreamed two dreams.  God revealed the meanings of the dream to Joseph but kept the time frame of fulfillment a secret.  Joseph, being the favorite son, suffered much teasing and torment from his 10 older brothers.  Now he saw his chance to get even.  “God has shown me in a dream that one day all of you will have to bow down to me,” Joseph told his brothers.  Once his tongue began “flapping” it wouldn’t stop, he included his father and mother in those that would one day bow to his superiority.  Yes, God had given him the dream but Joseph needed a little perfecting before he could rise to the place of service to his people.  It included being betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused, spending some time in prison, forgotten for a time and finally having a “do or die” moment in front of Pharaoh.  Joseph had been perfected!  This is reflected in his words to the butler and baker regarding their dreams; “Do not all interpretations belong to God?”  And again when his brothers did in fact bow at his feet; “So now it was not you that sent me here, but God.”  It had taken more years than Joseph would have thought necessary, but God had perfected him and brought him to the point where he was able to handle the realization of the dream.  Joseph realized the dream was not about him but about the great God that not only held the interpretation of dreams but had guided his every step.

Like Abraham and Joseph, God has made me some promises and given me some dreams.  As I look back to the starting point, I see some of the perfecting that God has worked in my life.  Sometimes, I have wearied in the waiting and thought I would help God out with a few of the details.  With gentleness and great mercy, He takes me by the hand and continues the perfecting process.   1 Peter 5:10 reminds me, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”  Once again, I am encouraged; God is not slack concerning his promise.  He hasn’t forgotten me or neglected any of the details; I just need a little more perfecting.


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