I haven’t followed the 76ers nearly as much as I did when Dr. J led them to a world championship and Moses made his famous – Fo, Fo, Fo prediction back in 1983. http://www.nba.com/history/season/19821983.html But this past year they were fun to watch. Led by the big man, Joel Embid, their latest motto is “Trust the Process”. For them, it’s truly been a process. Heck, 4 out of the last 5 years their first pick in the draft was no lower than #3 overall. Only in 2018 did they pick higher at #10. The strategy used by former general manager Sam Hinkie was implemented when he took control of the team before the 2013-14 season. When they began the process, the team was coming off a 34-48 season. The strategy was to gain as many number one picks as they could by trading away current talent – and thereby worsening their ability to win – so they’d draft in a higher position. Hmmm… dubious but effective. They had a process they trusted, and it landed them in one of the top spots in the East in the 2017-2018 season finishing the year with a 16 game winning streak.
Ok, so what’s that got to do with anything? Here we go.
Jesus was speaking of Isaiah’s prophecy when recorded in the Gospel of Matthew – “this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they closed their eyes. Otherwise, they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them”. (emphasis added) Matt. 13:15 (NIV).
Stay with me now. Is there a process toward wholeness in the Christian life? Or is there a microwave solution? Can you see how people’s hearts may become calloused if expectations aren’t met? Or like in this case, as Jesus explained why He spoke in parables, it was just flat-out hard to understand and accept. He went on to clarify what the parable of the sower, the parable of the weeds, and parable of the seed and the leaven were all about. I’ll summarize. What happens with the message of “the Kingdom” when it’s taught to many? Some get it, and some don’t. Everyone has the opportunity. It is A PROCESS. And we MUST Trust the Process.
For many, the message falls on rocky soil with no depth. They receive it with excitement and joy. But, as soon as trouble comes they run for the protection of “the known”, discarding everything. For others, the message gets swept away with the cares of the world and the deceit of riches. Like thorny ground, it chokes out the truth.
We all want simple solutions, but healing does take time. We must learn to measure progress in terms of years, not days. Sometimes a decade. In my case, it’s decades, plural. But it paid huge dividends. You know those cares of the world that Jesus talked about? They can be devastating without having a perspective rooted in Him.
In the last 6 years, I experienced a failed marriage (36 years altogether), a failed business (after 20 years) which led to a massive financial failure. Would you consider those events cares of this world? You bet they are. But God took each failure and turned it into His story of healing, redemption, and restoration. A new life, with a new and amazing wife, who exemplifies the Love of God. Who unconditionally offers that love to everyone she meets. It’s the reward of obedience. A new ministry with a new book project chronicling that journey, with Him at the center, directing every step. Financial stability with no “bells and whistles”, but nonetheless stable.
I simply looked ahead, picked up the breadcrumb in front of me then looked for the next one. Understand? It’s a process. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Some of the wisest insights of our day have come from the great theologian, Yogi Berra. He said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” What Jesus is saying to us – to you – is take it. His fork in the road. Is there a path that seems right? Maybe. If we walk out this life Trusting the Process that Jesus has for us, there aren’t forks in the road. It’s just His road – pursuing one breadcrumb at a time.
He never promised us a rose garden, but he did promise us we can return to THE garden – restored in Him. Whether the Sixers end up as World Champions because they trusted their process is yet to be seen. But the kingdom process of healing lasts a lifetime. Don’t miss it. Join me in the freedom that comes when you Trust the Process.