When I was a kid I used to play a game with my big brother involving rubber bands and fingers. You’ve probably played it too. You take a rubber band, loop it around your thumb, and hook it around your pointer finger. Aim at your sibling, drop your thumb, and – SNAP! The rubber band shoots across the room looking for an eye to poke out.
Of course this is all fun and games until someone gets hurt. It’s one of those great games that often ended in a big fight. There was another problem with this game. You just can’t trust a rubber band. There were times when I stretched the band so far that it broke, injuring myself instead of my brother.
The key to the game was to get the tension just right. Too little tension and it wouldn’t go far, too much and it would break. This took the right sized rubber band, a steady hand, and no shortage of bravery.
You know, sometimes I feel like that rubber band. I feel as if I’m living in a land of tension, being pulled thin and about to burst forth into my future, yet being held back by the thumb of God.
“Not yet,” He says. “Wait for iiiiiiiit…” He whispers, with a smirk on His face.
I know that God isn’t cruel. He’s not smirking because He enjoys tormenting me. He’s smirking because He sees the bigger picture. He knows what comes next and when the perfect time is to let me loose so I can shoot across the room and hit my target.
Life is full of tension. God’s Word is full of tension. It’s a balance of now, but not yet. It can be infuriating! But it’s also beautiful. I’ve discovered three keys to living in the tension of a rubber band life.
First, we must trust. We must trust that God knows what He’s doing and that He knows what’s best. We must trust His timing, and most importantly, we must trust Him. We don’t trust people we don’t know, so in order to trust God we need to get to know Him. We do this by talking to Him and reading the Book He wrote for us, the Bible.
Third, we must hope. Hope is such a glorious word. According to Merriam-Webster, “hope” means “to cherish a desire with anticipation.” It also means “to expect with confidence” – a definition which links back to the word “trust.”
When we trust and believe God, we can confidently expect Him to fulfill His promises to us. Promises such as:
And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20, NLT)
Whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14, ESV)
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27, ESV)
There are so many promises of God. Look them up, discover them for yourself, and treasure them! (Remember to keep God’s Word in context, read several verses before and after the promise to make sure you understand what God’s saying.)
When we remember to trust, believe, and hope, we can cherish our desires with anticipation. We can be confident that God will answer our prayers asked in His Name because He is faithful. This is more than adding, “In Jesus’ Name, Amen” to our prayer for a million dollars. These are prayers that align with God’s heart and His Word. These, my friends, are prayers we can cherish and eagerly look forward to being answered in God’s perfect timing.
I know it’s hard to wait, to live in the tension of a rubber band life. But it’s worth it. Oh the joy that will come when our patience and faithfulness has been rewarded! One day all will be made right. One day God will drop His thumb and we’ll fly through the air to the future He has for us.
I don’t know what that will look like for any of us. Maybe we’ll land in the lap of our future spouse, maybe we’ll land in the doctor’s office with a miraculous clean bill of health, or maybe our destination will be the lap of Jesus as we enter into the joy of Heaven.
We have a grand future to look forward to, but we also have today. We can’t ignore today because we’re too busy waiting for the future. After all, today was the future last month! Each day is another day God has given us to be alive, worship, and glorify Him.
When it comes down to it, I don’t know much – but I do know this: God is in control, He is good, and His timing is perfect. Do you trust Him? Do you believe Him? Will you choose to live a life of hope?
“But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord, at an acceptable and opportune time; O God, in the greatness of Your favor and in the abundance of Your lovingkindness, Answer me with truth [that is, the faithfulness of Your salvation].” ~ Psalm 69:13 (AMP)