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Punxsutawney Phil is a star

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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As February 2 approaches, the world’s most famous groundhog has unveiled his own Facebook page, Twitter account and satellite feed.  Who of us hopes he’ll predict more winter?

Instant gratification is part of our cultural DNA.  For instance, a company has unveiled a “roadable aircraft” that can fly from commercial airports and drive on public roads.  Meanwhile, fast food chain Subway has announced plans to open 600 new stores in Great Britain over the next three years, creating up to 6,000 jobs.  McDonalds expects to create 2,500 jobs this year in England through new outlets and 24-hour restaurants.

It’s hard to wait for what we want.  For example, Rachel had been married to Jacob for at least seven years.  All this time, she continued to pray for the Lord to give her a child.  Genesis 30 picks up her story: “Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb” (v. 22).  With this result: “She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, ‘God has taken away my disgrace.’  She named him Joseph” (vs. 23-24).

Why did God delay so long in granting her request?  During the time she waited, her family was given ten sons and a daughter.  Among them was Judah, whose descendants would include our Messiah and Lord (Matthew 1:2-3).  If God had acted on her timetable, how different would human history be?

Our Creator has but one purpose for us: “Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29).  He has given you another day of life so he can sculpt you further into the image and character of Christ.  What instrument will he use?

James taught us that “the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:3-4).  Helen Keller, who knew something about adversity, observed that “character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through the experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

Why is perseverance God’s invitation to you this morning?  What prayer has he not yet answered?  What need has he not yet met?  His plans are seldom ours: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).  But his timing is always perfect: “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

It may seem that you’re waiting on God, but could it be that he’s waiting on you?