Between The Promise And The Performance...

Between the promise and the performance is a parenthesis!

I was listening to the radio a couple weeks back when I heard that line.1 I'm still turning it over in my mind. Talk about truth succinctly stated! God always performs on his promises (Proverbs 30:5). The issue of course is the parenthesis, the length of time the Lord asks us to wait before we see his promises fulfilled.

I think of Joseph. Joseph was seventeen when he received God's promise that he would rule (Genesis 37:5-11). He was thirty-nine when it was fulfilled (Genesis 45:6). That is a 22-year parenthesis. And to think that I get frustrated waiting for a red light to change!

Yesterday I was talking with one of my sons who is living in the parenthesis. I could sense his frustration. And why not? It is hard to wait. It is hard to live "on hold." So how do we peacefully, patiently, and profitably survive the parenthesis? Let's look at Joseph:

1.  Joseph's motto must have been, "Serve God faithfully today!" You don't see him sighing, longing, lounging, wishing, or complaining. He simply got busy for God! It is easy to gripe instead of get going. But I must get going! God has work for me to do today right where I am.

2. Joseph must have reminded himself, "God is in control today!" He understood the providence of God, that God is working out his purposes in the parenthesis (Genesis 45:4-8). When I remember God is in control, that nothing has escaped his notice, that he is working out every aspect for my good, I can relax.

3. I wonder if Joseph made a practice of "counting his blessings." Things may not have been everything he wanted, but God provided for his needs! When I am tempted to bemoan my unhappy circumstances I must make sure I am not missing the box full of blessings sitting under my nose.

Are you living in a parenthesis? Trust God. Get busy. Count your blessings!

MY PRAYER: Lord, help me not to miss what you have for me while I wait for what you will bring me.


1I heard the phrase a couple of weeks ago listening to Ravi Zacharias' radio program, Just Thinking. Ravi noted that the saying did not originate with him. I'm sure glad he shared it.