Peel back the layers and there is always more work to be done.
By Michelle Wallace
We recently remodeled a large house. The home had been vacant for a few years and there was a lot of differed maintenance. None of the kitchen appliances worked. The water heaters were leaking. The home was in desperate need of updates. However, the house had been staged to appear in better shape. When we peeled back the layers, there was even more work to be done. But isn’t that always the case in home renos? Isn’t that always the way it is in life?
I find the symbolism used in the Bible both fascinating and sometimes funny. Proverbs 24: 3,4 says, “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” In spiritual terms this is saying, there’s a process. I’m going to be really honest with you, I’m not very patient. I’m not patient in spiritual progression any more than I am in natural progression.
Our house should have been finished in a few months. The home is large, we remodeled everything but the master. We decided to save that for last and live in there while we remodeled. I don’t advise this for anyone. The dust and paint fumes make their way through the air vents. Eating take out every night gets old. But, it’s only a few months, right? Between issues with contractors and additional work it went on for almost five months and cost several thousand dollars more than we expected. Also, during this time we had several other struggles and various trials come up. I wasn’t able to sleep very well. One night when I was crying out to God for some relief He brought me to the words from Hebrews 10:36, “You have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” “WHAT?! I have need of endurance,” I thought.
This has been a season of war for so many people I know. Full on assault! And like me, many have grown weary. So, I’d like to write a word to encourage the faint of heart. There is a time for war and a time for peace. There is a time for endurance and a time to receive the promise. I liken it to being pregnant. Even if you’re a man you have watched women struggle with changes that come during pregnancy. There is stretching, there is a preparation that comes to get ready to bring new life in the world. And pregnancy can be painful, especially in the third trimester. But there is a baby to look forward to. There comes the day of transition where you go from being pregnant to holding the promise.
The recent Super Bowl was interesting. It was a low scoring game. Many said it was a little boring. But I can assure you there was an intense process and preparation to the promise. The final score was 13 to 3. Some people are tired of seeing the Patriots win. I’m personally in it for the commercials. But here’s something else I observed, the final winning number was 13. That number can represent something unlucky, but not for the Patriots. For them it represented the promise fulfilled. Interestingly, the number represented a promise fulfilled for some in the Bible too. Maybe you’ve heard the story of Abraham. God promised Abraham and Sarah a child. She was beyond child bearing years and didn’t believe God could deliver on the promise. She had need of endurance. Instead, Sarah decided to help God out. She gave her maidservant to her husband to conceive a baby. But if she just would have waited a little longer, she would supernaturally give birth to Issac. Ok, maybe it wasn’t just a little longer, there were actually 13 years between Ishmael and Issac.
Joseph had a dream. He made the mistake of sharing it with his brothers. Maybe you’ve had a dream that others despised. It’s especially hard when you share it with family and friends who should be happy for you, instead they throw you in a pit. Jealousy can make people do crazy things. And it was 13 years before Joseph would receive the promise. Thirteen long years until he became second in command in the palace.
There are times when things go on for so long, we simply give up. Let these stories encourage you. The process may be long, we have need of endurance, but there is a day when the promise is fulfilled.
In the meantime, I’m learning that I can actually enjoy the process. How do we do that? We keep in mind there is a promise on the way. And while we wait we can be thankful for what the process is producing in us. James 1 says to consider it pure joy, 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. I’m sure Sarah wasn’t rejoicing in the process. She was too busy taking matters into her own hands. While Joseph showed great endurance through the trials, I bet there were times he questioned the dream. We can have a dream and believe it should come to fruition immediately, but life isn’t always like that. But rest assured, if God promised, He will do it. He’s not a man that He should lie, and He always keeps His promise.
Sometimes, the longer we wait, the greater the struggle; the greater the glory at stake. I’m not sure what your dreams or promises are or how long you’ve waited, but I can tell you from experience, it’s always worth it. Jesus said, “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.” He was willing to suffer because he looked forward to what the suffering would produce. What was the joy set before Him? What was the promise? It was me, it was you.
To learn more about Michelle and see what she’s up to, visit her page on Facebook at “Michelle Wallace-Hand of the King” or her read her blog at www.farmhouseliving.com.