Recently I began a new video game journey. I’ve started playing a Dragon Quest game for the first time in my life. Specifically, I started to play Dragon Quest XI. I know I’m late to the party, but RPGs are a considerable investment of time. Nevertheless, many adoring fans love this 2017 JRPG (Japanese Role-Playing Game) produced by RPG giant Square Enix. I began the game understanding that there would be plenty of deep storytelling, light-hearted comedy, and fanciful action.
I fired up the game and was thrust into a beautiful world heavily inspired by one of my favorite artists, Akira Toriyama. The orchestra sounds produced by Koichi Sugiyama, mixed with the visual, brought Yuji Horii’s story to life. It really is a beautiful game to experience. For hours I traveled the world, met terrific characters, and encountered various challenges and side quests, all of which wove together to tell a fascinating story about a young man who discovers that he has a greater destiny than he knew before.
Around the four-hour mark of the game, my character found himself locked in a prison. He (and myself, honestly) were in shock at a sudden turn of events. Suddenly he meets another prison speaking of instructions given to him by a “seer,” instructions that involved a daring escape from their captivity. The characters traverse dangerous tunnels avoiding armed guards and making a heart-racing dash through the tunnels to escape a fire-breathing dragon. They find themselves in a difficult situation at the end of the tunnel. In front of them is a cliff leading to a dangerous drop; behind them are half a dozen armed guards. Girding up their courage, the two take a “leap of faith” off the cliff into the air. Our heroes’ faces express excitement and bravery when the action comes to a slow.
Suddenly on my screen, the Square Enix logo appears. For the last four hours, I had been playing the prolog of the game. That’s right; the real story was just beginning. I was in shock. I had invested four hours into my character. Building his stats, training him, equipping him, discovering the lore and make-up of the world I had suddenly found myself in, and now I discover; that I’m just beginning.
This honestly got me thinking about some things on a deeper level. This idea of a late beginning had me pondering a few things. I’ve often talked to individuals who have a burning passion to accomplish something specific, but this nagging thought keeps them from making their next step.
“Is it to late for me to begin?”
Whether starting a new business, a family, or a ministry opportunity; the question of timing can cause people to freeze or cause them to jump in too quickly. Some, thinking they are past their prime, ignore the things God has placed on their hearts and say, “I’ve failed.” They live a life of regret with a large hole in their spiritual hearts as they long to see that which they felt God had promised them. Meanwhile, others, out of fear of “missing the boat,” jump in with zeal but no wisdom. At the end of the day, they find themselves worn out and burnt out. Some even find themselves in a place of cursing God for putting a particular passion upon their hearts.
There is a balance to this
In Dragon Quest XI, the prelude to the formal beginning, while long, was necessary. I needed to learn the skills I obtained in that intro. I needed the backstory to appreciate the current story and the information about the world to operate better where I was. Had I rushed the intro, I would not have been half as prepared as I was for the actual story before me. The journey to the beginning was long and difficult, but it was worth it. The beginning happened right when I needed it to take place.
To find the balance between the feelings of waiting too long and jumping in too quickly, we need to learn to trust in the Lord. In Ecclesiastes, the writer explains that “there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” For some, that season may be earlier in life; for others, it may be later. But what’s important is that we trust in the Lord to direct our steps as we step from season to season. In Proverbs 16:9, we are told that “the heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” This tells us that while we may make some preliminary plans for life, it is ultimately God who blesses and helps us to accomplish those steps.
The journey may be difficult at times. It can be infuriating when you sit back pondering why you haven’t stepped into something promised yet, or anxiety building when you ponder if you’ve missed your chance. But as we trust in Him with all of our heart, not trusting in the natural but the supernatural. Being willing to submit our ways to his ways (by the standard of the scriptures), then Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us that He’ll make our paths straight. When it comes time for you to step into whatever He has for you, it won’t be too late, nor will it be too early.
To the person zealous and anxious to jump into things, I invite you to wait on the Lord. Remember the words found in Lamentations 3:25-26 “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” Put your trust in Him, and when it comes time to move into something new, He will bless every step of the journey.
To the person wondering if it’s too late, wondering if God has forgotten you. He hasn’t. You’re not forgotten. The promise is still there. In Jeremiah 29:11-12, God spoke some powerful words to an entire generation, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.”
Some have quoted this thinking that God had plans to immediately pull His people out of captivity. The opposite was true. He had plans for them while they were in captivity. The promise to prosper and grow never left them, but there was a timing to it that they didn’t understand. If God has given you a promise, it’s not left you; you just need to trust in the timing of the Lord.
A key thing to understand about both of these scenarios before closing this: in both cases, the believer is called to action while in the waiting. You need to be steadily growing in your faith. You need to find yourself seriously studying the scriptures. You need to find yourself spending true intimate times in prayer. You must develop close biblical fellowship with a community of bible-based believers. If you don’t, you’ll be like the five virgins who failed to prepare their lamps in Matthew 25. When the bride groom, the Lord, comes through declaring that it’s time and you’re not, then you won’t’ be able to walk into what He’s called you to walk in.