“Delaying the fulfillment of our dreams seems to be part of refining and rescuing ambition,” writes Dave Harvey in Rescuing Ambition, which I finished reading while on vacation last week. It’s a really helpful book about the lost virtue of godly ambition and its contrast with sinful self-ambition. In one chapter, Harvey talks about how God uses times of waiting to refine our ambitions for His glory. He writes,
“Wait isn’t a popular word. We like it about as much as a toddler does. But waiting is a tool God often uses. Scripture is full of waiting—we’re taught to wait for God to act (Ps. 25:3; 27:14; 37:7; 130:5; Isa. 49:23; Hos. 12:6), to wait for our adoptions as sons (Rom. 8:23), to wait for the return of the Lord and his righteousness (1 Cor. 1:7; Gal. 5:5; Titus 2:13).” He then concludes, “Waiting is God’s backhoe in the excavation of our ambitions. Waiting unearths and brings to the surface what we really want.”
3 WAYS WAITING SERVES US
Waiting purifies our ambitions. “Reach your hand into the river and grab a handful of rocks. You can tell the ones that have been recently deposited and those that have been there for a long time, waiting. The new arrivals are rough with edges and sharp points. The other rocks are smooth; time and water have worn away their rough exterior, revealing a polished, beautiful stone. For us, waiting has the same effect. God purifies our ambitions by delaying their fulfillment. An ambition with a waiting sign is an ambition being smoothed in a riverbed of God’s activity.”
Waiting cultivates patience. “Impatience deletes God’s schedule and replaces it with our own. It perverts ambition into demands. But God has a rescue plan for us. It’s called waiting.”
Waiting redefines our definition of productivity. “We live in a world where time is money, so speed is essential. We define our success by how ‘productive’ we are, and productivity is wrapped up in activity….God defines productivity differently. For God, productivity is wrapped up in transformation, in who we’re becoming, not in what we’re accomplishing.”
Dave Harvey’s Rescuing Ambition is a unique book, as it addresses a neglected topic and does so in a well-balanced manner. I recommend it.