In these two verses below, God has the people doing the hard labor of preparation—digging trenches. When the way is prepared, God delivers.The New American Standard Bible version of 2 Kings 3:16-17 states:
He said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Make this valley full of trenches.’ For thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not see wind nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water….’”
When I started WealthBuilders in 2014, there were a lot of hard days for my team and me. We did not often reap profits from our efforts. But what we were doing was building trenches. We were laying the foundations of a new business, strong foundations, so that sustainability would follow.
I believe we’re in a time of digging trenches right now, COVID-19 isn’t an easy storm to weather as a business-owner, a family, or individually. I hope this post helps you see what preparations you can begin making.
The Leader in the Trenches
Waiting is an important component of this digging trenches process. Especially in this day and age, the virtue of patience has faded. Having spent time in developing nations, I’ve seen firsthand the time it takes people to do the basic tasks of living. While we turn on an oven or start the washer, they start a fire with charcoal and scrub their clothes with lye. What I might spend ten minutes doing, they spend an hour doing. The advances we’ve made are amazing and suddenly we have time to dedicate to intellectual pursuits. But this freedom has also come with a negative societal consequence—we don’t wait. If a web page doesn’t download in a nanosecond, we’re infuriated and close everything. There is a sense of entitlement that is going to ruin us. We expect things to be quickly handed to us and become frustrated when that’s not how it works.
The reality is that while many things in our lives run at high-speed, developing character and intellect does not. These require patience.
Patience as you wait should not look like passivity, however. A major component of digging trenches in your own life is to invest in yourself, and you should be investing in yourself. Digging trenches by investing in yourself looks like getting an education, discovering what you’re passionate about and talented at, and or taking an unpaid internship to gain experience. It’s having daily meditations on God’s Word and in prayer so that you are aligned in His will. These things take time, and frankly, they take work. It can feel aimless at times. But that’s all part of digging the trench. By putting the hours and work in here and now, you can be assured that success and blessing will come later.
This investing is also true in other life areas such as investing in a relationship or a community project. In the beginning of investing in these areas, it can feel like trudging along. It’s hard to earn trust and develop a relationship. But once the path is laid, it becomes easy to move forward. Momentum starts to build.
Above everything else about digging trenches is the fact that we must have hope. Hope is an indispensable character trait for the hard work of digging trenches. Yet, the point is that we dig trenches because we have hope for a better future. It is not a naive hope that trusts in nothing, rather it is a hope that trusts in our efforts and our God.
In other words, you get an education because you have hope that it will lead to a good job. You ask someone out because you have hope that the date will lead to a relationship. You volunteer because you have hope that your effort will help change your community. Without hope, forward motion is pointless. There is no growth. But with hope—by digging trenches—we believe in a better tomorrow.
These are some things I have learned about being a leader in the trenches. I hope it has helped you see how you can make this time a productive time.