One thing I look forward to every summer, which I place right up there among the great simple pleasures of life, is a good garden-ripe tomato…you know, one that runs all over the counter top when you cut into it. Oh, I tolerate the store-bought rubber balls in January when I have to have something to round out a sandwich; but honestly, folks, is there anything as tasteless as a tomato speed-grown in some greenhouse, minus real sun and rain, picked green, and shipped off to market?
Just as any fruit or vegetable is at its best when it’s allowed to draw nutrients from rich soil right up to the ripening time, then harvested at its peak of flavor, so it is with the blessings God has prepared for those who love and trust Him. We often get ahead of Him, and interrupt the ripening process by our lack of patience. We wind up then, with a little, puny, less-than-perfect version of what He willed to give us in glorious fullness. Sometimes we even pass His slowly-maturing blessings completely up for a quick fix from some other source, and the ripened blessings fall to the ground uneaten.
Our instant-gratification culture has diluted the purity of quality in pursuit of quick quantity. We seemingly have a lot more (and I say “seemingly”), but more of what, exactly? The result of excess is evident in our bloated egos, our fat bellies, our maxed-out credit cards, and our empty bank accounts. Our spirit man is often as unhealthy as our physical man, for all that overindulgence of substandard things leads to a life lived just short of ever having real completion. It’s like that tasteless tomato…a bite will never cause your eyes to close in satisfaction; it will never drip off your chin the way a blessing delivered in God’s timing would. At best, it will always be just a means to a second-rate end.
If you’re seeking God for a particular desire of your heart, and you can see that He’s already at work cultivating the answer, leave well enough alone and don’t pick that blessing from the vine before its time.
True patience says that we are willing to surrender even the timing of a blessing to God’s wisdom. A mature believer has learned that, given a choice of mediocre and the miraculous, he or she will reap a bountiful, blue ribbon-worthy blessing for having waited. Does it require discipline? Most definitely. Is the reward worth the perseverance? Take the salt shaker, roll up your sleeves and taste the difference for yourself. Ripe is right!
“So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:4 (NLT)
©2012 Lisa Crum