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Racing to get there, missing the view


It was one of Daddy's great vacation adventures! I announced to the family that we were going to climb Panther Mountain that day. The idea was greeted with underwhelming enthusiasm, but off we went, hiking up the gentle uphill trail that would get us to our goal: the rock fortress I had been told was at the top. As we trudged up the trail, my wife kept pointing out nice things along the way, "Oh, look at the chipmunk! Look at that tree growing out of the rock! Don't you love the sound of the wind blowing through the pines?" I would smile and politely acknowledge her little observations, all the while keeping my mind firmly focused on the real reason for this activity — getting to the top of the mountain. You can imagine how unthrilled I was when my wife suddenly said, "Well, the kids are getting tired, and this has been a really neat hike. Let's head back." Head back? We were only halfway to our goal! If we went back now, this would all have been a waste of time!

I learned a lesson that day on Panther Mountain. My wife said, "Honey, this has been a great hike. We've seen a lot of neat things God made, we've had a nice time together as a family, there's no need to keep pushing." I objected, "But what about our goal? What about getting to the top?" That's when the wise woman I married pointed out something to me that I've never forgotten. She said, "It isn't just the result that matters. It's the process!"

You know, the process is as important as the result. It's not just my wife who felt that way. I'm learning that the process is important to God — maybe more important than the result. Many of us are like I was the day we hiked up the mountain. We're so focused on getting to our goal that we miss the good things along the way. But I'm beginning to think that the process is more important to God than the result. He could answer your prayer and deliver you to your destination immediately if He wanted to.

But God has a process, a journey; and He wants to take us through that first and show us things that we've never seen before. We often miss those things because of our race to get there. We only care about the destination. God cares about the process and what we'll learn and what we'll become through that process.

He talks about that process in Psalm 84:5. "Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca," — now, there's the process— "they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength 'til each appears before God in Zion" — there's the goal. The Lord blesses those who enjoy the journey, who make a difference along the way, who look for Him in the process.

Most pregnant women would probably like to shorten the process and have their baby in three or six months; those nine months get pretty long. But it's the process that makes the baby. It's the time on the potter's wheel, spinning and being shaped that makes the pottery the masterpiece it becomes. It's the same for you and me.

You may be in God's waiting room right now, frustrated because your answer hasn't come. This process is taking so long! But that's the plan! Take in the scenery, enjoy what God's doing along the way, look for the lessons God is trying to teach you, and light up each spot along the way.

Here's a great prayer: "Lord, I'm not only trusting You for the result, I'm asking You to do it in the way that will bring You the greatest glory and make me what You want me to be." Whether or not you make it to that mountaintop, enjoy the great things that God wants to show you along the way!

©Ronald P. Hutchcraft 2023


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