Praise Before My Breakthrough
Updated: Feb 5, 2020
Psalm 63. A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
"You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you."
This was a portion of my post on social media yesterday.
I’m writing this to my future self. And by future self I mean me six hours from right now. Today is a big day. Over the last four months I’ve been chasing what I feel is an incredible job opportunity and perfect fit for me, and today’s the day I find out whether or not I make it. This has been one of the hardest seasons of my life, and also one of the biggest seasons of growth that I’ve ever experienced as a human.
I think subconsciously my plan was that I would get the job today and then be able to post publicly on social media that I got it and I’m OK.
Six hours came and I got the call telling me that after four months of pursuit, I did not get the job.
I made the job into the Promised Land, that if I could simply get the job it would represent an arrival and I would be out of the Wilderness. Out of 40 years in the Wilderness, the story goes that the Israelites got as close as 11 miles, only to not make it in. What felt like the road to the Promised Land now really feels like a mirage and the temptation is to feel like I'm even deeper in the Wilderness than I originally thought. Definitely a setback. Definitely disorienting. Definitely wandering.
Can you imagine? 40 years of setbacks has to be tough. I can't imagine.
One thing we used to do on a pilgrimage to Israel was to take our group into the Wilderness of Zin. After talking about God's provision in the Wilderness, we head back to the bus. The only problem is the bus is not at the place where it dropped us off. (By the way, we arranged it this way) We talk to our Israeli tour guide who then pretends to call the bus driver, who then reports to the group that he thought we were going to rendezvous at a different spot. It's just a quick twenty minute walk, so we lead the group to the bus. Upon our arrival, there's still no bus. Turns out the bus was having "engine problems" and we were going to have to continue our journey a bit more. The people are not really pleased with us at this point. We are walking through the Wilderness, uneven ground, hot weather, and no bathrooms. After 40 minutes, we stop the group and check in. They are ready to behead us at this point. No one is happy.
So we get to have a moment with the group. We say, "Friends, we are sorry for these unfortunate circumstances. We have been out here wandering for the last 40 minutes, apparently without aim. Can you imagine doing this for 40 years?" Then the lightbulbs start to click on. "Thankfully you don't have to wait another 40 years, our Promised Land, a Bedouin family ready to greet us with camel rides and sweet tea, is just on the other side of this hill." The people rejoice!
I know, it feels like a cruel joke and we don't advertise this experience on the brochure. Would you sign up for that kind of tour to Israel? Probably not, but the lesson sticks. To get so close, only to have to turn around and wander feels a bit desperate, daunting, and hopeless. It is honestly where I am at today.
You've been here before as well? Right? Your hope placed on that thing just around the corner. The new job that would provide all you need, the sale that was going to launch your business, the relationship that promised to end loneliness, the treatment that would overcome the condition, or the judgment that would bring justice. And then the bottom drops out and you're still in the Wilderness. These are the times to wait on the Lord, put your hope in Him, and trust that He is faithful in the Promised Land to come.
So praise Him from the Wilderness. Praise Him before your breakthrough (and after).
YOU are OK whether or not _____________ (fill in the blank).
God is good, whether or not ______________ (fill in the blank).
In fact, we are better than OK. We are exactly where the Lord wants us to be, with Him.