“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now.”- Zig Ziglar

We live in the gap between good actions and good results.

If good results came immediately and in direct proportion to the pain of our efforts, it would be easier to see the connection. Instead, the delay gives us time to doubt.

Now, I don’t imagine that, without this gap, I would somehow get everything right. The only place that happens is in my imagination. And even my best intentions fall far short of actual action. At least making mistakes teaches us things.

But the delay between my best efforts and my best results does give me time to cause some trouble.

Causing Trouble

Instead of holding the course, I get distracted. I get bored. I get anxious. I get impatient. And I have plenty of help doing it.

The latest shiny thing comes along promising to make my life effortless. It could be a tool, a toy or a strategy. It promises no waiting, no patience required. You could feel good now. Just buy this or try that and your problems are solved.

But they aren’t. Because nothing bridges the gap. Life requires me to wait it out. God requires it.

Why the Gap?

The reason is because the best things in life are in the gap. In the space between good actions and good results, our strength is forged. Persistence is developed. Courage gets its exercise. Goals appear like stepping stones to the future.

Hope trains to lift us higher. Character finds its feet and stands.  Grit moves forward. Faith stretches and begins to run.

Love

Love lives in the gap. Love sees what has been and what could be. What must be. Love sees the best parts of us and encourages them. Love stands beside and whispers, “You can make it.”

Love weaves beautiful dreams of things to come. Love has the vision and strength to build a future worth having. Even if it is a future we might not reach for ourselves.

Forgiveness

But the best part of the gap between our actions and our results is the time it allows for forgiveness. For if our good results came immediately after our best actions, our debts would also be due.

If judgment came immediately for our worst actions, there would be no time for repentance. No place for mercy. No home for grace. No space for redemption. We would have no hope for the future. No growth.

We would get exactly what we have earned – justice.

We Need The Gap

We are built for it. We are born problem solvers and believers. We cannot control our circumstances or guarantee our outcome. But in the gap in between, we have control over how we respond. It is our opportunity to change ourselves for the better. And maybe even change the world a little.

We control what we do with the time we have. Have courage. Do good. And in the gap do more good. Stand strong and have faith that the good result will come.

And for the rest, have the courage to ask for forgiveness.

Because Jesus stands in the gap having paid our toll. And on the other side, the God of goodness and grace will meet us, with blessings we cannot imagine.

Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us. – (Hebrew 12:1)

 

Photo by Omer Salom on Unsplash

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