For the third year in a row, NBA fans will spend their June watching the Warriors and Cavs battle for the NBA Championship. 

The expectation is another epic Finals, since the past two series were so phenomenal. (I’m pulling for the Warriors, but think the Cavs will get the win.) 

When Kevin Durant joined the Warriors last summer, everyone figured they would make it back. And, of course, we all knew the team with LeBron James would remain at the top. 

So here we are, ready to watch the NBA Finals we’ve been waiting for! 

Both of these teams weren’t automatically placed in the NBA Finals. They endured the long 82-game regular season while facing injuries, making team chemistry adjustments, and dealing with the controversy over resting players.

Then, they each had to battle through the process of winning four games per round in the playoffs, and beating three teams to win their conference. 

Many of us fans got tired of the regular season and playoffs, and have just wanted to witness the inevitable – the Warriors and Cavs facing off in the Finals! 

It’s been hard watching most of the other series, but knowing the early rounds would eventually come to an end, we’ve been able to hold onto the hope of finally seeing a fantastic rubber match between two great teams. 

In some ways, the regular season and the rest of the playoffs seem like a waste of time. Most of us probably wish we could have just skipped all of that and jumped right to the Championship.

However, there is a process that needs to take place in order to learn, grow, and build into teams that are better prepared to compete in the Finals.  

My guess is that many of us today wish we could fast forward through waiting periods or difficult times in our lives.

We don’t want to have to wait one more day for the new job or promotion. We don’t want to go through the process of getting healthy or graduating college or finding a spouse or having a baby. 

We ask ourselves the question, why do we have to wait so long for an outcome we so desperately want? 

Truth be told, the process before the blessing is what makes the blessing so worthwhile. It’s in the buildup, the delays, and the waiting on God that draws us to Himself.

He’s preparing us, developing our character, and testing us to make sure we are trusting Him. Although the experience can be brutal and painful, we must stay the course, keep obeying Him, and remain in His will.

When we finally receive answered prayers at the end of difficult seasons, we can be filled with even more thanksgiving and a deeper faith. 

The Bible offers us hope in Galatians 6:9 (NLT): “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” 

As we wait for tonight’s tip-off of the NBA Finals we so desperately wanted, let’s be reminded that the frustrating regular season and playoffs ultimately came to an end.

In our own situations, let’s be encouraged not to give up. Let’s believe that at the right time, we’ll experience the “Finals” we’ve been waiting for. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that! 

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I pray for strength and patience during the process of waiting, and that I wouldn’t waste the time before the blessing. Help me trust that You are working in me as You prepare me for what is next. Thank you in advance for the blessing that is coming. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.