Shine Bright Like a Diamond // 3 ways to find Hope in the wait

The demand for immediate results has seeped into every corner of our lives. Retailers offer same-day delivery services. Smartphone apps eliminate the wait for a cab, a date, or a table at a restaurant. Movies and TV shows begin streaming in seconds, and the internet has moved from slow and painful dial-up to the immediate delivery we all so desperately require.

Instant results are awesome; there’s nothing wrong with them. The problem is that a lot of things that are really valuable take time. The Smithsonian reports that natural diamonds can take up thousands of years for the earth to create, under a lot of pressure, and tense but perfect conditions. Diamonds start to grow and then there may be an interruption for some reason – a change in conditions, temperature, pressure, source of carbon, whatever—and they could sit for millions, hundreds of million of years, and then start growing again. Conditions are rarely perfect and life doesn’t happen continuously. But immediate gratification is our default response. It’s difficult to overcome those urges and be patient and wait for things to come over time; yet, it’s exactly the way God works.

Sometimes we see God answer our prayers right away. We get excited, thankful and ready to tell everyone about His goodness and our miracle. Then, there are those other times when prayers seem to linger and miracles seem too far away. As time creeps on, doubts creep in. We get discouraged and frustrated. Waiting turns to worry. We may even begin to think God might be holding out on us. Maybe He really doesn’t care about me. Or, maybe my circumstances weren’t important enough to Him. We give up hope, or we wrap our hearts in this invisible wall just in case God doesn’t come through.

While we live in an instant gratification culture, our God is not an instant-gratification-kind-of-God. More often than not, we find that many of God’s miracles are on a slow burn. He doesn’t wrap our miracles in cheap wrapping paper or set our story in a fake band like a cheap, counterfeit cubic zirconia that takes no real process, no real time. No, our stories are more valuable than that, and He delivers amazing miracles that are worth the wait.

A quick flip through the Bible reveals characters like Abraham and David… these guys waited years and years for God to deliver on His promises. Even the birth of Jesus, Himself was predicted by scholars and prophets for generation after generation before He came and saved us all.  If we were able to have a conversation with some of those Biblical prophets about what it was like back-in-the-day – someone like Isaiah – He’d likely say: “It took forever for Jesus to get here!”

When we have a need in our life or we’re looking for direction, waiting can feel that way; it’s a lonely place to live and can sometimes be devoid of any hope. None of us want to live in that place. We want to live in security, knowing God will answer and He always will. Like a diamond, anything valuable is worth the wait, and worth the circumstances and the pressure it takes to get there. Like Pastor Michael said, “Don’t hate the wait.” Instead, find hope in it. We can do that three ways:

1. Read the Bible

We’re in the middle of an 89 Day Reading Plan as a church, and hopefully you are participating with us! God’s Word can weave hope in our prayers and encouragement can fill up the empty places in your heart. The Bible reminds us that God always delivers. His love will never fail us, and He wants the best for our lives.

2. Be Thankful

Chances are God has answered prayers for you in the past, and may be even done a miracle or two for you. It’s so hard to remember those times when we’re struggling in the present. But , when we are intentional about our gratefulness, we will remember how God always came through in those tough times of great need, and thank Him in advance for His answers – always knowing – the best is yet to come.

3. Keep Expecting

When we know who God is, we know He will deliver. He is the author of all the things. He can turn our stress to thankfulness, our hurt to victory, our pain to happiness. He’s writing your story. In the “wait”, He’s developing your character. May be your backstory filled with hurt, circumstances in the present are stressful, but the greatest of stories have the most amazing plot twists.

Like little lumps of coal we sit here waiting…  but the Author of the world already sees us shining bright like diamonds. It may take some pressure to get there, but we’ll stay – in thankfulness, expecting amazing things – not because of who WE are but knowing who HE is – knowing that the end result is always worth it.