“Little by little, I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.” Exodus 23:30
It’s been said, “People love the outcome. God loves the process.”
There’s a lot of truth to that statement, isn’t there?
After all, processes take time. Processes can be frustrating and exhausting. If it’s up to me, I’d fast-forward through the process and reach the outcome in a nice, quick, timely manner. You know, kind of like microwaved popcorn. Two minutes and ‘voila!’, the process is complete, and I get to enjoy a steaming, hot bag of buttery goodness.
But, in my experience, the Lord rarely ‘microwaves’ anything. Though He has the power to instantly produce any outcome He desires, He often works through a slow, gradual process.
Case in point: the Israelites and the Promised Land.
Fresh out of Egypt, the Lord invites His people into a process. With His help, they’d take possession of the land of Canaan “little by little.”
The Bible reveals that this process was anything but easy. The book of Joshua informs us that the Israelites “waged war against all of the [Canaanite] kings for a long time” (Joshua 11:18). Most scholars estimate this “long time” was about a seven-to-eight-year period of ongoing warfare.
That’s a process of over 2,500 days. (Doesn’t sound like a microwave to me.)
Think about it. God could have destroyed the Canaanites with the snap of His finger.
But He didn’t.
He could have led the Israelites to the edge of the land and said, “I’ve already done all the hard work. Go in and enjoy!”
But He didn’t.
Instead, He deliberately accomplished His plan through an extensive, painstaking process.
Day by day.
Battle by battle.
Little by little.
He does the same with you and me.
I imagine you’re in the middle of a process or two right now. I know I am.
Maybe it’s the relentless process of parenting. Maybe it’s a project at work or church. Maybe it’s a challenging financial or relational situation.
Whatever it is, it’s easy to grow discouraged, especially when the process isn’t going the way we envisioned or moving as fast as we’d like.
May I remind you (and myself) that the Lord has a purpose and plan for the “little by little” process. After all, He knows what He’s doing.
Looking back at the Israelites, we see at least one purpose: growth.
The process provided the necessary time for the Israelites to “increase” in population (verse 30). More importantly, the process was a means of growing their faith and stretching them spiritually.
I can think of several ways the process was of enormous spiritual benefit.
• Deepened their dependence on the Lord
• Increased their trust in His provision
• Demonstrated His power on their behalf
• Refined their character
• Revealed His unfolding wisdom and timing
I wonder if maybe, just maybe, the Lord is using the “little by little” processes in your life to accomplish something similar in you.
I think He is.
So, be patient. Don’t try to microwave the process. The Lord of the “little by little” knows just the right combination of ingredients to include – pain, victories, frustrations, joys, defeats, etc. – to complete His purpose in you.
And remember, You are not in this process alone.
As He was with Israel, He is fighting alongside you for His glory.
Believe me when I say you can trust the Lord of the “little by little.”
Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director, RFTH
NEED MORE PATIENCE?
Read “Are We There Yet?” by Michael Kelley