The renovation process is a delicate one - one layer at a time must come off in order to protect the delicate wood beneath. The same is true for God's plan.
There is a door in the old spooky house behind us that I want to redo. I want to scrape the old paint, keep the antique hardware and character and make it usable again. It's alot of messy work but there is just something about scraping off layers of paint to reveal the life beneath the surface. It's like a treasure hunt with each layer telling of things the piece had been through and of a different time and place.
But the renovation process is a delicate one.
If you have ever scraped paint you know that you should do so a layer at a time and that takes patience. If you go into the piece with a heavy hand, scraping 2, 3, or more layers at a time, you may damage the antique wood beneath. One gouge of the scraping tool can ruin a piece that would otherwise be beautiful.
There is a lesson for me in that process.
I have been reading in Exodus and there is a passage that just jumped off the page:
Exodus 23:28-31 says: I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land. I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give into your hands the people who live in the land, and you will drive them out before you.
There are SO many lessons in that one passage but the one that jumps out at me touches a weakness within me....a lack of patience.
In this chapter, God was busy giving more laws and directives for his people. The last verses gave the people direction on what He was going to do for them -- reassuring them that He would go before them, answer their prayers and drive out their enemies.
But.....He would do it His way.
The passage tells us that God would send the hornet ahead to drive out their enemies. The hornet may have been disease, a plague of hornets/insects or something else we do not know for sure. But - what He promised was that their way would be made clear.
The next verses tell how He would do it. His plan would not come to fruition all at once. It would be little by little. He told them that if He answered the prayer all at once it would be too much for the people to handle it. He knew ahead what would happen - the land would be desolate - wild animals would take over- and the people were not strong or numerous enough to conquer it. They would be walking into a death trap.
While He was working on their behalf - layer by layer answering their prayer and making a clear path into the wilderness He was giving them time to grow. Become strong enough to handle what He was going to do for them. Layer by layer He would answer their cry. Layer by layer He would work all while they were gaining strength to move into their victory.
Just be patient.
While God is going before us - moving our enemies out of the way - we are to grow in strength so that we can walk through the doors He will push open for us as soon as we are ready. He is watching out for us to be victorious not allowing us to move in too soon to be overcome by wild animals or the enemy.
Layer by layer.
Just be patient and trust Him.
My prayer today is:
Father God, I am impatient. Time seems to move quickly for me and there are things that I want to happen right now. But You have gone in before me. You are already working on my behalf - moving the enemy out using the hornet - while you strengthen me for moving into my victory. You are always a step ahead of me....while going behind me in protection and beside me as my guide. I will trust You enough to let You do it Your way.
I adore you. Amen.