“Destiny is not an instant click and upload” (Christine Caine)
Back in the day (and I might add, days I was a part of!), before photos could be taken and instantly circulated around the world, developing photos was a careful and detailed process. Photos were treasured and even shot with care as each film was restricted to the number of photos that could be taken. In Dark Rooms under a special red light, the development process was undertaken. No natural light was allowed in, which would destroy the fragile film. The film was transferred onto photography paper, immersed in various solutions and left to develop. Time and darkness were key, paramount to the successful development of a photo.
The times of obscurity, the times of seemingly little progress towards our dreams, are like this. Our own darkroom. It is our preparation time. Just like in Winter when the bareness of the branches suggest little growth and life, yet beneath the earth, the tree is using the time for its roots to go deeper. To grow stronger.
Joseph experienced this. He had the promise but he underwent time in his darkroom – in the pit and then the prison, before he emerged ready to lead Egypt. King David had to learn it. He was anointed King, but then went back to tending the sheep, serving his brothers lunch and later serving King Saul. He spent 20 years in obscurity, of being a King-in-waiting as God prepared him for kingship.
It’s hard not to want to burst out of the dark room prematurely. But rushing the process or trying to pre-empt the finish diminishes the quality of the photo. Abraham and Sarah did this and ended up with Ishmael. In these hidden times, where it seems to be just you and God, our character is developed, our spirit is strengthened. It is in these times, God prepares us for our destiny.
The quality of a developed photo is attributable to the time and care taken in the dark room. Those hidden times with God are valuable. Don’t despise your time in the dark room – God is preparing and perfecting you for what is ahead. Hang in there – soon enough the door will open.
And Remember – what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly.
(Inspiration for this blog from Christine Caine’s book “Unstoppable” where she talks about the Dark Room and how God uses it to burn the light of Christ onto our lives. The book is an inspirational and challenging read!)
After a long flight, on disembarking, there’s nothing better than knowing that you’ve reached your destination. Except officially you haven’t. You’re still effectively in transit and depending on the size of the terminal (Singapore – enormous, Rarotonga – not so much) you have a normally wearying journey ahead before you can step out into the land of your destination. Until then, you are essentially in no man’s land. You’re not in the country that you departed from (obviously – the travel time and probably the sheer distance travelled is a somewhat strong indication of this fact). But you’re also not officially in your destination country.
I’m thinking the movie “The Terminal” here. The movie, starring Tom Hanks, based on the true story of a man who spent 17 years (17 years!!!!!) in the Terminal of Charles De Gaulle International Airport. Not allowed to leave, not allowed to stay. Nomad’s land. Not there, and not quite here.
You see, on arrival there’s a little queuing, filling out of forms, presenting of passports that needs to occur. There’s protocol that has to be completed. You have to pass through Immigration and Customs. Your arrival (in hopefully a tropical paradise?!) needs to be approved. Visa’s checked, baggage checked, yourself vetted. Permission granted.
I think this is what life is like. We have the Promise from God, but there is Terminal that we have to transverse before we can reach the provision, the promise fulfilled. For the Israelites, their time in the Terminal (i.e. Wildnerness) lasted 40 years. For Joseph it took time in a Pit and a Prison. And as different the Rarotonga Terminal is to L.A, Singapore or Heathrow, so too is the time we spend between the promise and the provision.
And like International travel where the final step of the journey is to pass through Immigration and Customs Checks, so do we often face in life that important last battle, hurdle before we enter the Promised Land. Israel had to face Jericho, Joseph stood before Pharaoh and I have grappled with British Immigration who were being, well er rather British about be me visiting.
So if you’ve had the Word, the Promise and are yet to see the fulfilment, take heart, take encouragement. You’re travelling through an Airport and that’s just part of the journey. And here’s a tip – in this time fortunately there are shops, places to refresh and rest (but not to set up camp!). So take a lesson from me – enjoy the walk through the airport.
The journey is almost over and the next about to begin.
Things to children are never what they are to us. They see the world differently. That’s certainly the case with my boys. Driving along the waterfront, to my 6 year old, it’s not Rangitoto Island we’re viewing, it’s Tracy Island, home to the Thunderbirds. It’s not just a plain cardboard box, it’s a briefcase for a super hero costume to be stored in, just in case. And it’s not just the packaging to Dad’s Superman Mug, it’s a house for Lego Superman! What I think is rubbish or junk is often squirrelled away in their rooms as treasure.
Michelangelo was the same. He saw art in the rocks that he then sculpted. He said “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”
It’s all a matter of perspective, of looking a little further and deeper. It’s the same with us. We often see only our limitations, weaknesses, failings and faults. We can decide we’re nothing special. But God sees more. He see what we don’t. God knows what hidden treasure and potential He has placed in us. And it is to that treasure and potential that He focuses on and encourages us into.
When people saw a mere Shepherd Boy in David, God saw a King. Joseph was a prisoner but God saw the Leader. To most, Peter was just a common fisherman, however, God saw the rock upon which He would build His Church.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)