In The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond Dantes is unjustly sentenced to life in the “House of Death,” an island prison where inmates are subjected to isolation, deprivation and occasional torture until they perish.
At first, Dantes pleads and prays passionately for his release. But as days, weeks, months and years pass, he is no longer buoyed by the hope of his freedom. He becomes a human shell, merely existing from one day to the next.
When a fellow inmate—the “priest”—accidentally tunnels into his cell, a change occurs in Dantes’ waiting. He receives wisdom, counsel and instruction from his new friend, the “priest.” He listens to his mentor and applies himself diligently to his teaching.
For Edmond Dantes, his waiting becomes purposeful, beneficial, profitable. He develops patient endurance, becomes focused and disciplined, and discovers a new hope rising within him.
When we wait for something—and suffer in our waiting—we feel the weight of our burden. The longer we must wait, the heavier that weight becomes, and the more spiritual strength we need to bear it.
This is God’s wait training program.
God’s design is to build endurance, develop character and produce hope in us through the exercise of waiting under trial. I know this. But I still resist God’s program. I want the end product, but I frequently question the necessity of His process.
As for physical fitness, I really don’t do any cardiovascular exercise. And it shows. I found myself in a pool a few weeks ago. I did about five strokes of the Australian crawl before I got so winded I had to crawl out of the pool.
Don’t get me wrong. I want physical endurance. I just don’t have the time for it.
But I’ve noticed that when God wants to build spiritual endurance and develop spiritual character in us, He gives us the time–all the waiting time we need. And He also gives us a Priest-friend to instruct us in wisdom and provide for us the spiritual training we need.
As God transforms us under trial, and makes us more like Him, He is sharing with us His glory. He is the Weighty One, and because we are His people, God desires that we become weighty people through our waiting.
Then we can come alongside our fellow waiters, offering our encouragement and sharing the hope that God has produced in us through His wait training program.