I don’t like to wait.
Like Queen, “I want it all, and I want it now.” I want to download a book instantly, the moment I desire it, while sipping my coffee which the barista had waiting for me when I breezed through the coffee shop door. I want line-free grocery stores. I want God to give me patience, this second, thank you very much.
But one thing I’ve learned is that in the kingdom, things take time. It just doesn’t seem like the God who created 17-year locusts is in a hurry.
It takes a long time to bear spiritual fruit. Young believers need lots of encouragement, prayer, listening, explaining, and patience. They need to hear the truths of God’s word again and again. They need friends to forbear with them when they’re assaulted by doubts or take two steps forward and three back.
It takes lots of listening, note-taking, question asking, and counseling to help a couple struggling in their marriage. Sometimes they leave holding hands, then the next time you meet, they come with voodoo dolls of each other bristling with pins.
Often it takes believers who suffer tragedies to a long time to recover. When a child or loved one dies it can take years to struggle back from such heartbreak, even with God’s grace and help.
When a Christian is severely sinned against, though they know and desire to obey Jesus’ command to forgive those who sin against them, it’s not easy. It takes loads of grace to forgive someone who’s devastated them by their sin. We can’t just say, “Hey, forgive them and get over it. Just move on.”
So many times over the years I’ve expected people to change quickly. I’ve thought I could meet with them once or twice, dispense some quick wisdom, and poof, problem solved. Not true. We need to be patient with the idle, the weak and the faint-hearted. We must be quick to listen, slow to speak. We must bear with the failings of the weak.
When you see little progress in those you seek to help, remind yourself that none of your labor in the Lord is in vain. In his perfect time, Christ will complete the good work he began in them.
photo by jurvetson