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Thought for the weekend


By Rev Craig Cooney

Growing up, one of my favourite movies was The Karate Kid. It's the story of a teenager called Daniel who is getting mercilessly bullied at school. He then meets Mr Miyagi, a mysterious mentor who promises to teach him karate. However, for many days the only thing Daniel appears to do is manual labour such as waxing the car, painting the fence and sanding the floor. From Daniel's perspective, these menial tasks seem to have absolutely nothing to do with the skills of karate. Frustrated and furious, he angrily confronts Mr Miyagi.

What follows is a brilliant scene in which Mr Miyagi demonstrates that all along he has been teaching Daniel karate without the young man realising it. The repetitive motions of waxing, sanding and painting were actually defensive karate techniques which are now hardwired into his arms and hands. Mr Miyagi throws a flurry of fast punches at his young protege and Daniel skilfully parries them all.

Somewhat similarly, I have found that God often works deeply in our lives without us realising it. Like Daniel in The Karate Kid, He does it in ways we don't fully comprehend or understand at the time. From our perspective, it can seem as if nothing is happening, or even that God has forgotten about us. Yet, as we look back later, we see that the Father's sovereign hand was at work, subtly shaping our lives and shifting our circumstances.

In the Old Testament, a teenage shepherd boy called David was anointed as the future king of Israel. Yet he would have to wait until he was 30 to eventually occupy the throne. Why the delay? God was carefully preparing and developing the young man behind the scenes. He was intentionally forming him from being a keeper of sheep into a king who could lead a nation. Between the promise and the palace was a process.

It's the same with each of us. God is never in as big a hurry as we are. He is more concerned with who we are than what we do. He always works deeply in us before He does any significant work through us. In Philippians 2: 13, Paul puts it like this: "…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose."

If you are feeling frustrated with waiting today, or even that God has forgotten about you, ask yourself, what could God be teaching me in this place right now, but I haven't realised it? He is first preparing you for what He has prepared for you.

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