Chess, backgammon, and Tetris to name a few, are games about waiting. If you are in too much of a hurry you are guaranteed to lose every time. As Americans, raised with a fast food mentality, we do not like to wait. God is not of our culture or of our day and age. He is timeless and uses tried and true methods to guarantee our blessing and success. It certainly is not comfortable and does not always seem fair, but it is the way God works best for our good. Paul stresses that in 1Thessalonians 2:4
"But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so, we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts."
We like everything done right now, however, we can only see what we can see, and God can see the heart and the future. The word translated "approved" by God is a rather intense word. It doesn't mean someone is simply given a stamp of approval but instead it means that the person is tested and tried, they are put through the fire, and all of the impurities are burned out. It means someone has been examined, inspected, and scrutinized to determine the quality and sincerity.
To the amateur or the naked eye, a piece of metal may seem strong and without flaws but once it is super-heated to glowing, then a blacksmith can see all of the impurities burning off. It is then and only then that the metal is truly useful for its intended purpose. The more the blacksmith has to fire the metal the greater its purpose will be.
Some of you have been in the "heat" for a long time. Paul spent three years in the desert burning off his impurities being made into the "metal" God needed him to be (that is his reference here). He was one of the most knowledgable theologians of his day but for him to be used of God and to stand the pressure, trials, temptations, and struggles he would face and to be able to handle the blessings and power he would be given, he had to know more than theology. Paul had to fully understand; God is good, circumstances don't matter, and God is faithful. He had to also understand what happens does not determine God's will, and that God will fulfill Paul's destiny and purpose and that not even death could stop that (Paul was stoned to death once and beaten nearly to death several times). Pretty intense stuff...ready to be used like Paul? All you have to do is wait for it...just wait for it! God needs men and women that are willing to be "approved" and not be afraid or give up. Instead, to remain focused on the call and the destiny God has planned!