For my 14th birthday, I remember having this huge dream to go to Universal Studios with my friends to celebrate. I talked about it the entire school year with my friends, and we began saving and planning months in advance. Now, being 14, none of us had jobs, but we were blessed enough to get free tickets from my mom and some of her coworkers for all of us. The only thing we really had to save for was food to eat throughout the day.
The night before my birthday, I had my friends come over to my house for a sleepover. We spent the majority of the night watching Back to the Future and taking turns sharing ghost stories with one another in the middle of the night. We planned exactly what we would to at Universal once we got there. The rides we’d go on, the restaurants we’d eat at, and the shirts we wanted to get. The following morning, after all of this excitement and planning, it was finally the day to see this plan come to fruition.
My friends and I woke up early, watched the sunrise, then left out for our trip to Universal at about 9am. We got there and were all equally stoked for the day. As we walked up to the turnstiles, we weren’t thinking about anything else other than having a good time. I was grateful. My closest friends were with me on a special day.
It was thrilling walking up to the entrance of the park and hearing the music play out of the speakers at every corner, as well as seeing movie characters roaming around as if they were regular people, and how can I forget to mention the sweet smell of churros that danced under my nose everywhere I turned!
As I mentioned, my friends and I already had the day planned. We already knew that we wanted to ride The Incredible Hulk Coaster first, and were itching to get past the turnstiles so we could run to it. Once we got past the entrance of the park, we ran towards the ride with Usain Bolt types of speeds. After putting our bags in the locker, and rushing to the entrance of the ride, we got smacked in the face with an hour-long line. This, of course, was disappointing, because this line had now caused tension with our plans. Now, we were faced with a dilemma. Either we could enter the line, and endure the wait, or we could leave and risk not riding the most exciting ride for the entire day.
I was in a group of 7. Only 3 of us got on the ride. The other 4 went to ride other, less exciting rides because they didn’t want to wait. I don’t blame them, most of the line was outside; and a summer day in Orlando is not something to take lightly! It was a bit of a bummer, because I genuinely wanted all of my friends to get on the ride with me. But because of the length of the wait, and the conditions in which we had to wait in, it caused my friends to leave and miss out on the best ride in the park.
I think the same thing happens in life. Usually the things we are most eager to experience are the things that God makes us wait for. The prayers that we cry over, believe for, and fast about, are usually the prayers that take the longest to actually come to fruition. The things we put so much effort into believing for are usually the same things that take the longest time to see actually come to pass. This results in us sometimes making our own plans, and just stamping God’s name on it.
You know what I’m talking about. Think for a moment. What are some things that you’ve been believing in God for? What are some prayers you’ve been praying for several years? What are some of the situations you’ve been hoping would come to pass, and still aren’t seeing them happen? Have you been tempted to stop waiting and start trying to make your own plans happen?
My Pastor calls it “long suffering.” God has this way of making us wait for the things we’re super eager about so that he can test our heart. He wants to see if we’re actually serious about seeking Him more than the promise. He is more concerned with us falling deeper in love with Him, the promise maker, rather than falling in love with the promise itself. He is more concerned with working on our character than He is with just throwing gifts out to us.
Psalm 105:19 “Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.”
I absolutely love this verse. It is a great reminder that God has a reason for our waiting and long suffering. I want to encourage you guys that if you feel stuck in the middle. If you feel like giving up in the middle. If you feel like quitting and chasing after something else that isn’t your purpose, I want to remind you that God is doing a special work in your heart and your character. Keep pushing. Keep enduring. No matter how long the wait is.
Christopher S. Dean