You Can’t Microwave Change

Good morning from Managua, Nicaragua!

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.” (Hebrews 11:13, NIV) The writer of this verse in the Bible is referring to a number of people who had to commit to something challenging in order to bring about long term change that they themselves would never experience. This is a concept I have learned a lot about in Nicaragua.

 One of the things I love about the world today is that there is not much for which I have to wait a long time. In some ways it is as if we live in a microwave society – if you want something you stick it in the microwave, hit start, and one minute and twenty three seconds it is ready to go. The problem with this is it impacts the way I think about everything. Over my time in Nicaragua, maybe more than any other time in my life, I have learned that there are many things in life that do not work this way. Specifically, I have learned that you cannot “microwave” change. Long term change is called long term change for a reason – it takes a long time. In order to create real change in a society or a community you have to commit to a long term approach that is exceedingly more difficult than a short term fix. In part this is because we do not get to experience much or any of the change on the front-end. Instead, we have to commit to pressing on despite the lack of results. In fact, as was true for the people written about in Hebrews, there is a chance we may never get to see the final outcome with our own eyes.

Long term commitment is not easy, but it is worth it. This is because it leads to real change. This is as true with creating change in Nicaragua as it is with our own lives. While I may or may not see the end result of my work in Nicaragua, I often get to see the end result of my long term commitment to change in my own life. If I want to have a better marriage, it means committing to being a better husband every day for the rest of my life. While this may or may not make a difference today, I guarantee I will have a better marriage a year from now. This same is true about my health, finances, walk with God, and many of the other things I would call important in my life. Long term change takes commitment to a long term approach.

Part of the challenge that comes with a long term approach to change is trusting that it will actually work. While this is difficult for me, my faith in a faithful God makes it much easier. This is because I can read about the outcomes of the commitments made by the people written about in Hebrews. Even more so, I experience the outcome every day through my relationship with Jesus. It is because of this that I know God is faithful to his promises.

I am committed to long term change that takes long term commitment. What will you choose?  

– James Belt

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