A classic underdog story, the 1984 movie The Karate Kid was a blockbuster hit. Daniel LaRusso, the new kid in school, fell victim to a band of bullies. One day, in the midst of another beating, an unexpected savior appeared. The super of Daniel's apartment complex Mr. Miyagi, single-handedly defeated all his oppressors. Daniel was impressed; the old man could kick some serious butt. Would Mr. Miyagi teach him to fight? Reluctant at first, Mr. Miyagi brokered a truce to allow Daniel time to train.
Initially his mentor had Daniel perform menial tasks. Only later did the boy realize that “Wax on. Wax off.” was muscle memory training that developed quick responses. What appeared to be a useless expenditure of time and effort produced skill and expertise. Daniel was now a formidable opponent.
One challenge many believers grapple with is God's timing. It drives us crazy! We see needs all around and want to respond immediately. God knows the time's not right – we're not ready.
“Then the Lord said to him, 'Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there,'” Genesis 15:13 (NIV).
“At the end of 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord's divisions left Egypt,” Exodus 12:41 (NIV).
Hold on, did I miss something? God told Abraham 400 years but Israel stayed 430. Did God make a mistake?
Moses was forty years old when he killed an Egyptian for abusing a Hebrew slave, Acts 7:23-24. As a result, he fled to Midian, married, had children and tended sheep.
“After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert of Mt. Sinai,” Acts 7:30 (NIV).
When you subtract the forty years Moses spent in Midian from the 430 years the Israelites were strangers and slaves you get 390 years. Moses jumped the gun. 10 years away from God's appointed timetable he took matters into his own hands. It cost him forty years of preparation in Midian instead of 10 years in the palace. The Hebrews spent an extra 30 years of captivity. It pays to wait on God.
God cares more about the sort of work we do as opposed to the size, 1 Cor.3:13. He prefers quality to quantity so He trains us to produce substance not fluff. To see a goal and methodically work toward it requires patience. Going from zero to one hundred quickly isn't acceleration, it's one step away from crash and burn.
Andrew Wommack once shared that after 32 years of ministry the Lord told him that he was just now ready to get started! That's a lot of years of “Wax on. Wax off.” Andrew stressed that any call or destiny from God requires extended training and preparation. If we try to circumvent this we can end up like Moses. Our development will take even longer and others will experience unnecessary hardship.
How about you? What has God shown you that you're so eager to begin? Does the urgency of the need pressure you to do something NOW? What could be some of the consequences if you act in haste? Instead of jumping the gun, maintain your cool, take a deep breath and “Wax on. Wax off.”
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