For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:3 NLT
I was never much of a video game person. But I do know enough about them to get the gist. You go on quests. You gain experience. And as you enter the next stage, you're a little more prepared than you were the time before.
At least that's how some people play. Others try to simply run through, determined to beat the game as quickly as possible. Instead of seeing the beginning levels as places to learn, and the subsequent battles as places where experience and proper equipment are gained, they see them as a waste of time and energy compared to the goal of completion.
And that's where my daughter was, the day she said to me:
Mom, it's really hard when you try to skip levels. It's so much easier when you just go through the game the right way.
And I thought: Yes! Yes! What a picture of life! What a picture of this walk of faith!
So many times we walk through our lives this same way, trying to power ourselves through to the end, not realizing that the very things we may see as unnecessary, are some of the very things God wants to use to teach us, to train us, to grow us and mold us and change us into the highly effective, Holy Spirit-carrying world changers He's designed us to be!
Does this mean that God will never catapult us into the next phase of our lives? Absolutely not!
But what we fail to realize is that that catapulting is most often based on a myriad little battles fought, some won, some lost. But all building our strength. All building our character. All building our patience and perseverance and spiritual fortitude, not only to be thrust into the next stage of our destiny, but to actually thrive there!
Jesus sent His twelve harvest hands out with this charge:
"Don't begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don't try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the Kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously. Matthew 10:5-8 MSG
Then he said to me, "This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven's Armies. Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel's way; it will become a level plain before him...
Then another message came to me from the Lord: "Zerubbabel is the one who laid the foundation of this Temple, and he will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven's Armies has sent me.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin..."
from Zechariah 4:6-10 NLT