Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Whole Package

He knows exactly where we are along the way. He tracks every stop, every location change, and every set of hands we pass through...the waiting chapter is not the end of the story.
I really love to get mail. There's something thrilling about reaching into the unknown and uncovering something just for you. I admittedly also like things to come quickly. In a perfect world, everything and everybody would be in step with my time line. It would be great.
However when that doesn't happen, it becomes the perfect opportunity to remind myself that there is a special anointing in the "process". God refines us through perseverance. And waiting for God to put all the pieces together is above and beyond rushing ahead of Him. It was this time last year that waiting on a package taught me more than just practiced patience, but to trust in God's own delivery process and to see it through despite what we may encounter during the journey.
I checked the mail every day for weeks wondering when my package would arrive. There had been delay after delay and I was starting to wonder if it was even going to arrive at all. Maybe I had been taken advantage of by the company. Maybe it had gotten lost somewhere in the mail; deserted and alone in someplace no one would think to look. Maybe if I waited just a little bit longer it would come wrapped in fancy packaging and completely worth the wait.
My maybes turned into a blur of months with no answers and I finally decided to contact the company. Twice I was assured it was on the way and to just hold out a little longer. I was beginning to forget what I even ordered in the first place and wondering if it would be worth all the hassle. It was like the package and I were in a stalemate – each trying to wait the other out.
Then, finally, one crisp day we had a breakthrough. I checked the tracking number and it stated to my relief that the package had been delivered to the Birmingham Post Office. I smiled victoriously. It wouldn't be long now. In fact, it would probably come the very next day and all of this would be over.
It didn't.
A whole week passed and the mailbox remained package-less. I tapped on the tracking number again trying to solve the great package mystery of 2015 and waited for the page to load. Below the Birmingham Post Office delivery was another, but instead of it being at my local post office, the package had somehow gone to Alexander City.
I studied the information in disbelief. I couldn't believe it had been so close and yet had gone somewhere completely wrong. I navigated over to Google Maps and discovered Alexander City was 83 miles away. That was approximately an hour and 32 minutes off course. Once again it had been delayed.
As I stared at the words "Alexander City" I thought a lot about my life and God's deliverance. In the midst of all my frustrations and delays, I saw that package as a metaphor. It dawned on me how many other deliveries (ones that could not be sent through the mail) in my life I was waiting on and even more humbling, how many I had stopped expecting to come. My heart inwardly moaned as I recognized the pattern.
Packages don't come.
Dreams get delayed.
Promises get rerouted and we start to wonder if they are ever going to arrive.
We contact management hoping to find an answer and only seem to get strung along further.
We end up in our Alexander Cities questioning why we haven't been delivered to our place of intention and yet never stop to see that we might absolutely be in the wrong place.
Perhaps surrender yields to deliverance and not the other way around. Maybe it isn't getting God to change His destination, but for us to change our perspectives. Could it be that He is waiting for us to aline ourselves and our desires with His timing rather than to keep asking Him to be in step with our timelines. After all, He is sovereign in all things and is the ultimate post master. He is in every single detail. And He knows exactly where we are along the way. He tracks every stop, every location change, and every set of hands we pass through. And no matter how long it takes, He continues to check the mailbox.
I know what you're thinking.
You know all of this in your head, but sometimes when the waiting gets long, you stop believing it. You know God's timing is good and His plans are sure, but you don't know how to stay in the fight. You give up. You lose hope. You move on to another dream, but as I write this I can't help but think some of us need to revisit those things we've given up on. We need clarity and vision on the packages we held in our hearts but never saw come into fruition. We need to remember that the waiting chapter is not the end of the story.
I noticed something about my package a few days after it went to Alexander City; it was sent back to the Birmingham Post Office and finally after many months was delivered to my house. It was interesting how it had to go back to the place it started in order to get to where it was going. Sometimes we also have to go back in order to move forward. Sometimes we have to believe in that dream again. Sometimes we have to return to the course God started for us in pursuit of the promise land that is waiting on us.
This week I read Deuteronomy 2:2-3 which says, "Then the Lord said to me, You have made your way around this hill country long enough, now turn North."
That action to "turn" resinated deep within. It's like God was saying, Quit circling those things that don't matter and turn to the purpose I have for you. Stop focusing on destinations and lean on My promises and dreams for your life. Get out of your "Alexander City" and back on course to where you are meant to be.
That package turned out to be a reminder for me to re-discover dreams. To live expectantly. To unearth what God buried in my heart and bring it back to life. It was about "fixing my eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen (2 Cor 4:18). And it was about learning to wait for the right season to reap a harvest. I'm not sure what it will do for you, but if you find yourself in a season of waiting or in the middle of a delivery process, perhaps your own, don't give up. When delays find you don't lose sight of what is promised. Course correct if you end up somewhere else. Keep an expectant eye and continue checking the mailbox. Your package may be just one day away from delivery.
As former Alabama player Greg McElroy stated about waiting to start at quarterback, "Some things are worth the wait."
-Only Hope
P.S. To the good people of Alexander City, I hope you feel honored to be a part of the story. I have the highest regard for you and do not blame you for the great package mix up.

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