The Illusion of Next

For many of us, the desire to move forward and progress is a part of our DNA. We assume that whatever is next will bring us greater fulfillment than our current circumstances provide. Maybe we think a new job or a promotion is what we need. Maybe it’s buying a new house or a new car. Maybe it’s becoming a parent or having our kids move to the next stage of life. Regardless of the specifics, we assume that obtaining what’s next will satisfy our longings and desires.

But next can be a dangerous illusion. It has the potential to keep us fixated on what we don’t have and rob the present of significance. What’s more, it reveals a dark truth about the source of our satisfaction. If we’re always waiting for what’s coming next to satisfy us, then God will never be enough.

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Forty Years

Forty years. Forty long, hot, dusty, repetitive years. That’s how long God allowed his people to wander in the desert. That’s how long it took to form them into the nation he wanted them to be ahead of their entrance into the promised land. Forty years. One entire generation came and went knowing nothing but the desert.

I’m always wary of people who connect Israel’s experience with their own “desert” seasons. After all, shaping the nation through which all other nations would be blessed was far more significant than anything that happens in the safe, sanitized world of American Christianity. Nevertheless, one principle remains the same between Israel’s situation then and the situation you and I may face today – waiting is hard. To be frank, it sucks. All the intelectual knowledge in the world of God’s sovereignty doesn’t change the reality that waiting is emotionally difficult. Patience is never fun to learn. If you’re in that season of life, take heart. At least you don’t have to eat the same thing every day.