The 3 Stages of Any Great Work of God
Is there a challenge that stands in the way of you and your God-given dream or task? Here are 3 stages to expect with any great work.
It’s said the greatest issue that keeps people from success is that most quit too early. At the first obstacle or sign of trouble, too many throw in the towel and walk away from their dream.
It’s often the same for accomplishing the works of God. Certainly, God’s people have no shortage of great visions. But we do have a shortage of great perseverance. And resultantly, a lot of great, God-inspired ideas or organizations are never fully realized.
The Process of Perseverance
James Hudson Taylor, a Christian missionary to China, made a profound observation. He said, “There are three stages to every great work of God: first it’s impossible, then it’s difficult, then it’s done.”
Recently, while in the middle of what became a grueling do-it-yourself home project, I experienced this truth in a small, but practical way.
For months, I had a vision to change the carpeted stairs in my house to hardwood. Now, mind you, I’m not a carpenter and hadn’t previously attempted any significant home projects. But the images in my mind were appealing and seemed easy enough to accomplish.
“There are three stages to every great work of God: first it’s impossible, then it’s difficult, then it’s done.” —James Hudson Taylor
After some research, I pulled the trigger. I bought all the stairs, stains, brushes and supplies necessary to complete the task. “It’ll be fun!” I assured myself. But barely a day into the work, it suddenly felt impossible! On the first few stairs, I didn’t allow the stain to dry long enough, and so, when I applied the clear coat, it blotched the finish, requiring me to strip the pieces and start over. Then about halfway through all the stairs, I learned it was easier to use a rag instead of a brush. But this made the new pieces look different from the others. Resultantly, I had to redo the first batch again. Finally, when I was almost finished, I ruined what was my favorite stair by sanding too far into a bubble in the clear coat. And just like that, my prize piece had to be stripped and started over.
Through it all, I’d like to say I remained at peace, but I didn’t! On numerous occasions, I wanted to forget it all and give up. But my vision (and the work I had put in) wouldn’t let me. And thankfully so. After about 10 days of sweat and tears, I completed the job with great satisfaction. Indeed, while the vision came easily, the process to realize it seemed at first impossible, then difficult, but then it was done.
Don’t Despise Small Beginnings
If God’s given you a great work to do, and you’re only in the first steps of what seems like a thousand-step process‚ don’t lose heart. With great perseverance comes a great prize. But you have to go through the process. Be encouraged by what God told His people in the midst of challenges and delays in building the second temple. “Do not despise these small beginnings,” He instructed. “For the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zech. 4:10).