The Israelite's were ready to enter Canaan, but God told them He had to prepare them first.
"But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land."
One passage everyone loves to quote is Jeremiah 29:11: " 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' "
But I hadn't read verse 10, what comes right before this comforting passage. And when I did, it rocked my world: "This is what the Lord says: 'When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.' "
You see, He does know the plans He has for us, and ultimately they are for our good (Romans 8:28), but that doesn't mean today. That doesn't mean now.
Sin exists in this world, and He has to renew our minds. We need to walk in a posture worthy of walking out the calling He has for us.
Grace covers salvation, but to be used by God requires maturity.
We see the Lord lovingly leading the Israelite's to their promised land of Canaan; the land promised to Abraham and that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob inhabited before moving to Egypt to withstand the famine of Joseph's time.
But after they'd been enslaved in Egypt for 400 years. After they moved through the wilderness, the longer path, God's path, for 40 years. And even then, they didn't get to just walk in and become comfortable. They had to grow, follow Jesus intentionally, and be ready for the weight of the responsibility they would be carrying.
If that doesn't hit you, I don't know what will.
It hit me. It showed me that when God gives me a vision for my life, my marriage, my parenting, my kids' salvation, my work, my ministry, that it may be spot on. But I might need to wait.
I might need to grow.
And growth isn't fun. It means my ways are wrong - I am wrong. It means I need to change. It means I'm not in control. It means surrendering to Him.
And I wish I could say this is a one-time thing, but alas, it isn't. There are different seasons of our lives, different "lands" to conquer. And each might require some growth. Some more than others.
But we must follow obediently and wait until we have increased enough to enter each land He has for us in life.
The bottom line is our character matters. For us to have dominion in the way we were created in His image, we need to renew our minds back into His image. We can't have dominion and be a hot mess. Yes, He uses the broken and foolish, but we mature up. That's where people look at us like "you're not the same!" and we can give testimony to Jesus.
Amen for protection and preparation.