But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. II Peter 3:8


Ugandans have a wonderful expression, “slowly by slowly,” which we would probably translate, “little by little.” I, personally, prefer slowly by slowly, especially when I’m waiting for something to transpire. When it doesn’t happen within my timeframe, the days and weeks can drag on and on. The image of time as a snail precisely expresses my attitude as I wait for God’s intervention.


The faith walk can be described quite accurately as “slowly by slowly.” God gives us a word or direction, and we can often expect fulfillment just around the corner. Truth is frequently just the opposite. And sometimes it may seem that God doesn’t respond at all to our cries.


God promised Abraham a son; he waited twenty-five years for Isaac’s birth. Joseph dreamed of ruling; the reality occurred about thirteen years after his kidnapping. The Children of Israel were told they’d be returning to Canaan; after 400 years of slavery and then forty more years of wandering, they finally reached their homeland.


The people of Israel believed for centuries that God would send a Messiah, but for so many, that promise was never fulfilled because Jesus came in a form and with a mission they couldn’t accept. Paul strongly desired to go to Rome. That wish was granted, but Paul made his journey as the Empire’s prisoner. God is sovereign.


God’s promises are true, and he is faithful, but he doesn’t operate in our timeframe or according to our human schemes. The distance between promise/prayer and fulfillment/response is determined by God’s wisdom. We may mentally acquiesce that “his ways are higher than our ways” (Isa. 55:9), but we allow ourselves to become overwhelmed with disappointment when his time and methods don’t concur with ours.


Walking by faith is just that. God speaks a prayer to our hearts or a word to our spirits and then asks us to trust him for its fulfillment. We pray for perfect healing; God answers by taking our loved one to perfect health in heaven. We ask for a loan; God gives us a grant. We ask for more grace in a difficult relationship; God removes that person from our lives. We ask that God does whatever is needed to bring someone to himself; God answers in ways we’d never imagined.


Slowly by slowly, step by painful step, through dark and perilous passages God asks us to trust his profound love and to walk with him. He asks us to trust that all his plans for us are good and that all things will work together for good (Jer. 29:11, Rom. 8:28). And while we lean and trust, we learn and grow. We shed much of our self-assurance and those selfish attitudes that lead us to trust ourselves more than our loving Father who is using delays and his methods to make us more and more like him and more and more dependent on him.


“My times are in your hands” (Psa. 31:15). Give him time to work out his perfect plan. God is never too slow and never late.


Father, strengthen our faith and help us to walk confidently with you even when we don’t understand your timing and your ways. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.



And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. I Corinthians 12:28

Did you realize that helping is a gift? And I’m sure we all know those people who just seem to know when and how to reach out. Intuitively, they sense that the load we’re carrying threatens to overwhelm or they see that we just need a kind word of encouragement. And this is a gift—not everyone has it.

The Bible is full of illustrations of helpers. Jethro, Moses’ Midianite father-in-law noticed that he worked long hours every single day judging the people. It took Jethro just a minute or two to point out to Moses that he was going to kill himself if he didn’t ask for help. Moses wisely respected his father-in-law’s advice and learned to delegate.

And then there was Joshua. He helped Moses fight the Lord’s battles. When Israel was fighting Amalek, Moses stood on the mountain and raised his arms (in prayer?). Before long, Moses’ arms were tiring, but when he lowered them, the Israelites began to lose the battle. That’s when helpers, Aaron and Hur, stepped up and stood on either side of Moses and held up his arms, ensuring Israel’s victory.

And there was Moses’ sister Miriam, who was a praise leader. And Samuel who assisted Eli in the service of ministry. David helped Saul fight God’s battles. Ruth was unflaggingly loyal to Naomi. Daniel served numbers of kings, and so on.

God has placed helpers and hand-holders in each of our lives, but we need to recognize them and release the loads that we think only we can carry. God gives us what we need, but he doesn’t force his gifts upon us. Not only do those special people bless us, but they, in turn, are blessed as we allow them to activate their God-given gifts. Let’s let go and let God use his servants in our lives.
Father, can it be pride that keeps us from reaching out, from asking for a hand-holder? Cause us to realize that you’ve put us together in community so that we mutually build each other up. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.



Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

“The Life of Pi” is a work of fiction, but the hero, Pi, is remarkable in the intensity of his determination to survive shipwreck while sharing a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. And Pi is still a teenager. Through months of fluctuating weather patterns, blistering heat and freezing nights, not to mention emotional roller coasters, Pi focuses on a solitary thing—survival. (You’ll have to read for yourself to see how it ends.)

Our lives, in a sense, are a story of survival in a hostile environment that does not seek our well-being. We, too, live with emotional highs and lows; with political and cultural storms; with relational fragility; and with instability on all sides. In only one place do we find security, survival, and that is in Jesus Christ.

When Jesus left his beloved disciples, he’d only given them a three-year crash course in surviving. He’d laid out the basic rules—primarily, just two rules: love God and love each other—and he’d said, “Do what I’ve done the way I’ve done it.” FOLLOW ME. And then he left them to work it out (Phil. 2:12). Life would be always accompanied by death (to the world and the flesh), and the way would be narrow with hazards. The cup would be bitter.

They would reach the Father’s house by persevering every day, every hour, and every moment. Paul would later say in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (ERV), “We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We often don’t know what to do, but we don’t give up. We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed.” Paul calls this a “light affliction” and knows that all the things that sometimes weigh us down are not eternal. And so we persevere.

Persevering is not relegated just to spiritual giants. Any of us midgets can call on the power of God’s Spirit to keep going. It doesn’t take intellect or charisma to keep going. All it takes is determination to be faithful to God; to trust his promises; and to know that he will not fail. We put one spiritual foot in front of the other, and we take another step and then another.

He empowers us to persevere, to not give up, to keep going. And we will reap.
Father, may we keep our eyes firmly fixed on you, holding your hand, and following to the end. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.


…you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good… Genesis 50:20

One of the most beautiful characters in the Old Testament is Joseph—after his refining process. You know the story quite well. Joseph was his father’s proclaimed favorite. Jacob didn’t even bother hiding his preference from his ten other sons. Talk about setting the boy up for disaster. Joseph’s mother was his father’s favorite wife Rachel, and that preference caused grief, not only to stepmother Leah but also to her sons. Dad did them all a disservice. But God…

Joseph’s boasting was a natural characteristic for a boy who’d been singled out and who had been robed in clothing fit for a prince. None of his other siblings even came close to the special attention Joseph received on a daily basis. Poor, clueless Joseph even had the temerity to tell his brothers and his father about his dreams of future greatness. That didn’t sit well…

When the brothers had stood as much as they could, Joseph was sold into bondage. (The original plan was to kill him. But God…) Initially, Joseph obtained the confidence of his master and became the ruler of his household, but a false accusation landed him in prison. There Joseph again was given the trust of the prison’s lord, and he became the chief administrator. Joseph thought he had a chance to escape when he interpreted dreams for the pharaoh’s cup bearer and baker. But they, too, forgot him.

Finally, “in the fullness of time,” after Joseph had experienced fear for his life, loneliness, false accusation, humiliation, all the purging needed for the true gold of his character to shine through, God gave pharaoh a dream that only Joseph could interpret. When the time was right, God brought Joseph out of prison where he acknowledged God’s power and praised him as the one who gave the interpretation of dreams.

Josephs’ decade or so in Egypt made him an overnight success. He saved the country, and he saved the nearby countries including his homeland. When his brothers came to buy grain, he tested them to see if there had been a change since their cruelty to him. The desperate talk they shared among themselves was enough to bring Joseph to tears. He knew that while God was refining him in Egypt, he was also changing the hearts of his brothers in Canaan.

Papa Jacob was able to reunite with his lost son, and the family was restored. Almost. When Jacob died, the brothers humbly and subserviently came to Joseph hoping for their father’s sake that he would be merciful to them. We hear Joseph’s renewed heart as he weeps with his brothers, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” God took all the grief and heartache that Joseph had experienced and stripped away the pride and egotism, all the self-orientation that had clouded his vision and made Joseph his man for his purpose.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Father, even as we weep over the griefs in our lives, cause us to trust you to use all these things for your purposes and for good. Help us to release the sorrow so that you can transform it for your purposes. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.