"He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. Otherwise, you may say in your heart, 'My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.'" (Deuteronomy 8:15-17)Why does it seem to take so long to go from promise to fulfillment? The Bible is replete with stories of God making promises, only to wait years to bring them to fulfillment. Consider just three quick examples,
- God promises Abraham a son, but waits almost twenty five years to bring it to pass.
- God speaks to Joseph about the day that his brothers would bow down to him, yet the next dozen or so years were spent in slavery and imprisonment before he saw his brothers again.
- God reveals to Moses that he was to be the deliver of God's people, but he then spent forty years in the wilderness, in obscurity, before he faces the "burning bush".
So why does God so often delay between promise and fulfillment? I believe, in part, that it is so that we will always remember who it was who promised and who it was who brought the promise to pass. We have seen it over and over, people who rise quickly to the top, only to be shipwrecked by their success. Sports and entertainment provide an abundance of examples of young people who quickly gain the spotlight; many receiving multi-million dollar contracts. However, for some, their success is also their undoing. They loose sight of where they came from and who they used to be. Even worse, they forget who it was that gave them the abilities and talents for which they are praised. Far too often, those who rise to the top without having to suffer the struggles along the way, fall prey to the same deception that Moses was warning the Israelites about, "My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth."
In my own life, I can now look back and see how the years past have prepared be for my present blessings. I don't know if I could properly have handled my many blessings if not for the challenges, tests, and lessons that have lead me to this place. This scripture should encourage us all to embrace and give thanks for the times of our testing and trials; for the times of obscurity. For I believe that the more time God spends on us in preparation, the greater His plan for our lives must be.