"Don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed." (James 1:4 Msg)
Be patient with God and with yourself. One of life's frustrations is that God's timetable is rarely the same as ours. We are often in a hurry when God isn't. You may feel frustrated with the seemingly slow progress you're making in life.
Remember that God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time. He will use your entire lifetime to prepare you for your role in eternity.
The Bible is filled with examples of how God uses a long process to develop character, especially in leaders. He took eighty years to prepare Moses, including forty in the wilderness. For 14,600 days Moses kept waiting and wondering, "Is it time yet?" But God kept saying, "Not yet."
Contrary to popular book titles, there are no Easy Steps to Maturity or Secrets of Instant Sainthood. When God wants to make a giant oak, he takes a hundred years, but when he want to make a mushroom, he does it overnight.
Great souls are grown through struggles and storms and seasons of suffering. Be patient with the process. James advised, "Don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed." (James 1:4 Msg)
Don't get discouraged. When Habakkuk became depressed because he didn't think God was acting quickly enough, God had this to say: "These things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!" (Habakkuk 2:3 LB)
A delay is not a denial from God!
Remember how far you've come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be. Years ago people wore a popular button with the letters PBPGINFWMY. It stood for "Please Be Patient, God Is Not Finished With Me Yet." God isn't finished with you, either, so keep on moving forward. Even the snail reached the ark by persevering!
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Rick Warren is the author of "The Purpose Driven Life," now available in paperback from Saddleback Resources.