On patience

In our fast-paced culture, we want things to happen yesterday. And if not yesterday, then … well … NOW!

We grab our quick-brew coffee as an on-the-go breakfast, pay bills online, and send e-mails instead of letters – all because we don’t like waiting. Unfortunately, that need for speed can easily creep into our spiritual lives as well. We want our Bible reading in five-minute chunks, expect God to answer our prayers like some cosmic vending machine, and run to purchase dvds about easy keys to success. We want to reach a level of Christian maturity without having to walk the often painful road of faith. The bottom line is, in our impatient mindset, speed is always ‘right’ and delay is always ‘wrong’.

But isn’t it just like God to turn the tables on our thinking? Life is more often about process than product. Those times of delay, when we let God take the reins, can be some of our most fruitful seasons, because it is in the waiting and wondering that we wrestle and grow and change.

Mary and Martha had to wait three days for their prayer to be answered: their beloved Lazarus had to die before God manifested His glory and power through resurrection. Abraham and Sarah had to wait until old age before having the son God promised them years before. The disciples were asked to wait in the Upper Room for the Holy Spirit to come upon them before continuing in their ministry – and they had no idea exactly what that meant.

It is in the waiting that God is able to work the fruits of the Spirit in us – love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. God asks us to bloom where we are planted until His specified time of fulfilment.

Did you know that it can take five to seven years for a sweet cherry tree to bear fruit? Did you know that the Grand Canyon as we see it today in all its majesty took millions of years of erosion to create? Did you know that Jesus, the Son of God, didn’t start his public ministry until around the age of 30? God’s timing might seem painfully slow to us, but God’s timing is always perfect. Good things don’t happen overnight. They must be planted, watered, weeded, and watched over. Then, and only then, can they be harvested. So, enjoy the rest of the Easter season, waiting to celebrate Pentecost and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Enjoy waiting for your garden to grow. Enjoy your children as they are today and don’t wish them grown up. Enjoy every minute of the life God has given you, whether full of activity, or quiet and still.

Wait hopefully.

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Ronald