Friday, November 16, 2018
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Chimney Mountain! I had to get to the top! Why? Because it was there! Of course, I had to drag my young family into this obsession with me. One vacation day, I made that "Daddy's Great Adventure for the Day." Well, it wasn't a steep hike; it was a trail through the woods that gradually took you to the top of the mountain. As we walked along, my wife and the kids kept noticing little things...like chipmunks and squirrels and flowers and interesting rocks. Of course, whenever we noticed one of those little things, we had to stop; which was not my favorite thing to do. I had a goal, folks, and chipmunks and interesting rocks didn't help me get to it. Nope! At one point, they stopped us just to listen to the wind blowing through the tall pine trees. Isn't that wonderful? But not if you want to see the top of Chimney Mountain before sunset. Finally, my frustration made it to my mouth, "Honey, the reason for this hike is to get to the top. Don't you understand?" To which she said something like this: "Oh, I thought we came to enjoy the hike." Great! I was interested in the result; she was interested in the process!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have "A Word With You" today about "Pushing the Goal, Missing the Process."
Later, my wife and I were reflecting on our different perspectives about our Chimney Mountain expedition. (Oh, by the way, we did finally get to the top.) My wife said, "I wonder if this was a little like God and us. We're more interested in getting the result we want, and He's more interested in the process."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Samuel 22:31. "As for God, His way is perfect." I think when the Bible talks about God's way, it isn't just talking about where we end up. It's talking about the road He takes us on; the way we get there, the methods He uses. OK, I'll have to agree with my wife - the process. And His process is always perfect, but it's certainly not predictable.
In Isaiah 55:8-9 it says, and God is speaking here, "'My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.'" God's ways, God's means of getting us to the answer are unpredictable: they are "beyond finding out" in the words of Romans 11.
Which brings us to whatever mountain you're working on right now. If you're like me, you're focused on the result you need: the money, the life partner, the healing, the place to live, the job, the change, the answer! You're in a hurry to get to the top of the mountain. But God, the God whose ways are perfect, is asking you to slow down and enjoy the hike, let the process be beautiful, not just the destination. The easy part for God is giving you your answer; showing you the top of the mountain. The hard part for God is you - getting you to be the man or woman He redeemed you to be. And He's using this climb to develop faith in you, or deeper personal holiness, or humility, or greater dependency on Him, to move you from trusting in yourself to totally trusting in Him. He wants you to become a better you on the way to the answer or the goal that you want so much.
I'm by nature a goal-oriented person. Just ask my fellow hikers. But in recent years, God's been teaching me an exciting new way to pray, "Lord, I ask You for this answer that we need, but please do it in Your time and in the way that will bring You the most glory and us the most growth." Surrender to your Lord is more than just, "God, give us what You think is best." It's a total surrender to whatever timetable He wants, whatever process He wants to use, and whatever He wants to make you go through on your climb up the mountain.
We want to scale the mountain. God wants to change the mountain climber, and He's using the trail to show you what you need to be. You are His goal. So, enjoy the process.