Monday, June 13, 2011

Until That Day - June 13, 2011

Good Monday morning! I am staring at a cord dangling down from a shelf and wondering if it dropped down further overnight or more slowly over time. The change is not so great that I know immediately that something even happened. Fast change like waking up to find the neighbor's house painted pink when you know it was brown last night is usually easy to spot. Although there are those who might not notice the pink for a week or two, most of us can spot the obvious changes. Slow change such as grass growing might take us a bit of time to notice; watching the grass grow is generally thought of as boredom or wasting time. Some days we prefer slow change; other days we want fast change. As we grow older our definition of what is changing too fast and too slowly might change as well. Whatever state of change you are in right now might be either too fast or too slow for your comfort level. If you have a change going on and you don't trust your own opinion, just wait a moment or two and someone else is sure to shout out their opinion of your change rate; he or she might even include some helpful adjectives about you free of charge.

In the Bible, we can read stories of change both for the better and for the worse. We often use the Old Testament Israelites, or Hebrews, as an example of how most lives go. It may seem at times as though no change was taking place such as the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. No doubt some of those old-timey Hebrews longed for a change of scenery too, but during those forty years the people who had refused God's command to enter the promised land were dying off. No one was going into a better place until Joshua and Caleb, the two faithful spies, were the only ones of the original group left. While the people wandered, weddings happened and new children were born. Some changing didn't stop even while the promised land was on hold. We know the people longed for a change in diet because the Bible records their times of grumbling. Imagine being just under the age of responsibility when Moses and the gang blew their shot at the promised land.

There you are at nineteen years old, just ready to start on life. You honor your father and mother according to the commandment and expect to live a long life. As a person just under the age that God holds responsible, twenty-one if I recall correctly, you don't get a vote on the report of the twelve spies, but you do get to suffer some of the consequences. The bad news is that by the time the old gang is gone, you will be at least 59 when the tribes enter the promised land. That forty years may have seemed to be a very slow change to some folks back in the day. Of course with our almost instantaneous news feeds, change may seem way too fast for us in this day.

If you told someone that he would not be able to take that great job in Poughkeepsie for another forty years, he would look at you like anyone would regard a completely insane or stupid person. Forty years is about what we expect to work before retirement in our times. Not taking a job until we are knocking on the door of retirement seems kind of stupid. Forty years is most of a lifetime. The amount of time we must wait for a change is relative to our situation and perception. You surrendered to Jesus a couple of years back and you want complete sanctification NOW! However, Jesus sees time a bit differently than we do. Forty years is next to nothing when thousands of years (at least so far) are involved from Adam to the return of Jesus. God will not bring anyone home ahead of his time. We too must wait to enter the promised land, except that we can't nail up a forty year calendar to our tent wall and start counting down the months. We live in faith, and part of faith is trusting that God knows the day when you and I get to go home. Until that day comes for us to enter the promised land, we learn to wait patiently while trusting in God. And there is much to do!

Have a great new day in Christ!


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