The waiting is excruciating. I’m an impatient type so the 90% of our lives (I’ll suggest that we see nearly instant results 10% of the time) that we need to wait for results from any investment of time, energy, affection, faith is difficult, to say the least. For me, arduous actually might be a better term.
As I write this I’m sitting outside on a sunny 40-degree day in Western Pennsylvania recovering from shoulder surgery. As you may well know a sunny day in December is a rarity in these parts. I’m quite restless after only two months of recovery and have quickly forgotten the fatigue I often felt while working at a natural gas processing plant where I could spend long irregular hours fulfilling my duties. It seems, oddly, that I somehow am longing for that fatigue once again. Strange isn’t it? Back to the weather though. As I sit here, on this beautiful day, I look to my right and see our garden plot where a thousand plus tulip bulbs lay nestled in six inches of compost ‘waiting’ for the spring before they blossom. Perhaps you know where I’m going with this analogy already. Part of me (my impatient part), in spite of this beautiful sunshine, feels a bit peeved that after all of the tilling, and planting, and shoveling of compost now I must wait for several more months before seeing anything beautiful come of these efforts. It’s astounding how a prideful, discontented heart corrupts and distorts a proper perspective.
My impatience runs treacherously even more deeply when it comes to investing my life into and for those in the body of Christ, pre, and post-conversion. I certainly am in the last third of my life and yearn to see more sustaining fruit from my life’s investment, flawed as it may be, into those whom I have held dear and those who simply have transitorily come to me for aid. Many of my efforts seem to have been frustrated by misunderstanding, suspicion of motive, and mostly prideful impatience on my part. There is more to say regarding how insidious and deteriorating the effects of this impatience has and can become, again, on a proper, and good, and holy, and satisfying perspective.
When in this corrupted, deteriorated frame of mind, the following are but a few of the truths I have forgotten. I won’t expound further but will leave it to the reader to discern how these verses corrected my faulty thinking and in turn gave great delight, contentment, and yes, patience.
“ For in Him we live and move and have our being,” Acts 17:28
“ You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.” Psalm 139:5
“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it until it receives the early and the late rains.” James 5:7
“From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.” Isaiah 64:4
“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”” John 4:35-38
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” 1Cor. 15:10
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
There are many more references. Simply reading these anew as I write them out recalibrates my heart and gives me peace. So, dear saint, abide in Him, hope in Him, delight in Him, wait patiently for Him.