I put off downloading my iPhone’s new software for over a year. I can be stubborn like that sometimes.
Yesterday, when I finally bit the bullet and downloaded the newest version, I found that my phone was even faster at accessing apps and uploading pictures than it was before. I take a photo and instantly it is on the wide world of social media.
When my phone doesn’t perform properly, I get antsy and irritable. It’s amazing how dependent I’ve become on this little device that I didn’t even have four years ago.
Oh, patience. Such a seldom sought after virtue in today’s world.
Three weeks ago, I received a not-so-subtle reminder how important waiting is. Even when we don’t want it. Even when we complain and whine and push our way through the line because we simply can’t stand still another moment.
I sat in a room filled with over eight hundred women and listened to Christine Caine of Hillsong Church talk about the dark room. You know, the place where they used to take photos to be developed? With the right chemicals and the right amount of time in the dark room, a beautiful image appeared.
If the image was taken out of the dark room too soon, the picture was destroyed.
As I listened to this woman of God drive her point home, I felt like she was speaking directly at me. I knew I needed more time in the dark room, but somehow I hoped I was wrong.
“I love being in a room of women who are filled with vision.” Everyone clapped and smiled. “But until the Light within you is greater than the spotlight on you, the spotlight on you will destroy you.”
The image of Christ needs time to be forged on each of us. Time in the dark room. Time spent with Him, sometimes in the midst of trials. Time waiting. Time praying for him to move and act with faith that He will, at just the right moment.
Two weeks after the conference, my sneaking suspicion that my time in the dark room wasn’t over arrived in my inbox. A rejection letter from the one publisher who’d taken my proposal back to the house to read. I knew how seldom it was that a first-time proposal was accepted, but it still stung.
It felt like the death of something I’d carried inside of me for months, hopeful and anxious and excited all at the same time. But after a few days in prayer and the company of a beautiful community of friends, I realized something.
I read the email again. It wasn’t a “no.” I just needed that final piece to the puzzle.
Sometimes what feels like a “no” is actually God saying, “Not yet.”
When we see that dream in front of us, we feel as though if we don’t seize it immediately we will crush beneath the weight of broken expectations and a sense of failure. But that final piece of the puzzle is just one piece.
Getting there, and the journey along the way, is just as important. That is where the growing takes place. That is where the faith builds.
That is where God forges his image on his creation, irreplaceable by anything that is in the world.