One of my new friends put words to a feeling that has consumed me lately. She said (talking about her current season of life), “I guess I am just upset because God has given me dreams and desires, and I just do not see how A+B is going to equal C.”
There it was. An expression to my frustration. Here I am doing what I wholeheartedly believe I am supposed to be doing, and all the while The Lord is putting ENORMOUS dreams in my heart. He is stirring me for more of Him. He is stirring my affection for the lost and the broken. He is healing my heart and making me new. And somehow when I look at where I am, the things I am doing, the places I am called to right now, I tend to doubt that I am actually hearing God. How can that be His plan when this is my here and now? I want so much to rest in Him and in His timing, but there in lies my downfall. A+B is NOT equaling C… Or is it?
In the deepest pit of doubt, in the darkest seasons clouded by fear, He reminds me gently that His ways are higher than mine (Isaiah 55:8), and thank you Lord for that! He reminds me of the heroes of faith found in His word. Joseph, for example, had every reason to doubt the equation. He had this grand dream of his family bowing to him. It was a dream of great leadership. When he was living in the “A” season he was filled with hope and expectation, but then came the +B. In the pit, in temptation, and in the jail, Joseph experienced a time when the dream was not really making sense anymore. I can imagine him asking God what in the world He was thinking. Had Joseph misunderstood? Or had God forgotten him? Neither.
We have the privilege of reading the story of Joseph in its entirety. We have the ability to see EXACTLY how A+B=C. But Joseph was certain of only one thing: God. It was his faith in God that caused him to be faithful in every season. It was his faith in Yahweh that made him say, “You know what, God? I don’t have the slightest idea what you are doing, but I know one thing, you are good. I trust your goodness.”
I want so much to be living in season C. I want to be able to look back and see how this middle part has worked out, but more than that, I want instant gratification. I want to grow and mature in the season that just makes no sense at all. Is it fun? No. Not really, but I am sure that Joseph did not think that being betrayed, being thrown into a pit, being sold, being a slave, being defamed and imprisoned was much fun either. But when his brothers came into his courts and bowed before him, I think he saw a flashback to the dream that was MANY years in the making. I wonder if he understood the painful seasons, and became grateful for how they shaped his life. I wonder if he thanked God because God knew exactly what he was doing, and Joseph realized that his pain had been used to produce the promised season at its purposed time.
In season A the dream is given, and in season C the dreamer is living in the dream. But in season B the dreamer is tested and refined. You cannot forgo a portion of the equation. Without all three parts it simply does not work. Season B is, in my personal opinion, the most important because it is where I am formed and shaped more and more into His likeness. It is a place where every hindrance, every wall I have built comes crashing down. It is the place where I am met intimately by Jesus, the dream author, giver and sustainer. It is the place where He takes my heart and breaths His life into it. Season B is a waiting period. I often do not have a choice of whether or not I will wait, but I always have a choice of HOW I will wait. I will live in the now. I will choose to believe that, in a season that feels like I have been forgotten behind the bars of a prison, that I am seen. I am heard, and I am intimately known by Jesus. He has not forgotten me. He has not placed me on the back burner. Right now, in this moment, He is preparing me for the dreams he has placed deep inside of me.
Even now, I am filled to overflowing with emotion to think that He would even consider me for this calling. I am so honored that He would call me, walk beside me, and forgive me daily for all my failures and shortcomings. I am awestruck when I consider that despite my persistent requests to skip season B altogether, He would choose to say, “No. My daughter I have something so much greater for you than ease, comfort and false security. I have a plan, and it is for YOUR good (Jeremiah 29:11).”
So, instead of trying so desperately and praying so earnestly to be “delivered” from season B, I choose to rejoice! I choose to see it as God’s gift to me. I choose to take advantage of every opportunity to be prepared by the one who sees my life from beginning to end. I choose to stand firm in my faith, knowing confidently that, “He who has begun a good work in me will carry it on to completion (Philippians 1:6).” I choose to believe in a God who is for me (Romans 8:31) and not against me. I choose to have faith, despite what I think, understand, feel or imagine that God is working on my behalf in a way that makes A+B always equal C.