When you’re young, it’s sort of programmed into you. You are told what to do to prepare for school, and then to prepare for middle/high/undergrad/grad school. Then they start telling you how to prepare for retirement, or for career advancement, or kid’s college. You have to learn all over again how to prepare your kids for all of the same milestones. All of life, it seems, is geared toward preparation for the rest of life.
So what a surprise to wind up where I am, at 29, finally realizing that all of life is not preparation. At some point, boot camp is over, and it’s time to start fighting the war. I’m not advocating a lack of discipline in planning and preparing for the future. I’m advocating a mental shift regarding how we view the present. And I am going to make a sweeping statement that may or may not offend you with it’s simplicity.
God has you where he has you right now for a reason. And how you handle what you are going through right now has a large bearing on where He will take you in the future.
Nothing gets me fired up (in a “you might not want to emulate this” sort of way) more than sitting across the student union table from a Johnny Sophomore and hearing him say “I am just waiting on God to reveal his will for me.” As though God were behind on his paperwork, scrambling to get marching orders to this student. But he and I take the same approach, if I’m honest. We treat God like we would a barber before our big date. Show up when you have an appointment, sit patiently and wait while he does some stuff to fix you up, and then leave once he’s done preparing you for the real fun. We assume that we have no role in the preparation beyond small talk and tipping well.
Sure, God is preparing us and slowly revealing his will to us. But if we aren’t faithfully executing the tasks he’s set before us now, what makes us think that he’s going to entrust us with bigger tasks? That’s one of the reasons I think Bill Bright (the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ) saw so many people come to Christ after hearing the gospel one time from him. He led Taxi drivers, bellhops, and people next to him on the plane to Christ all the time! Why? Because, I think, he lived every moment as if it were a divine appointment. And God ended up entrusting quite a movement to Bill Bright.
So, how are we living every moment? Like a divine appointment, or the preparation for tomorrow’s divine appointment? I confess that I’ve been living, in large part, in anticipation of some fabled “next step” without any regard for the extraordinary provision that’s gotten me to this step. And it’s time to start walking by faith now.
How about you? Am I the only one who trips over this step in my haste to get to the next one?