Patience. Are you willing to experience the “almost-but-not-quites” on your journey to your destiny? Brace yourself because there will be some! My biggest need of all, perhaps, is to let patience have her perfect work so that I can be whole and entire, lacking nothing! It’s hard not to succeed immediately. We’ve spent our entire lives watching movies where the whole plot of the story gets resolved in 90 minutes, and we want real life to work out that way too. In our fishbowl society where all eyes are on us, we are so afraid people will judge us if we can’t be a superstar at every single thing…and in record time, no less.
It’s been the ongoing challenge of my life not to rush to the finished product. Lifting the lid on the crockpot knowing good and well that a peek disrupts and makes the process even longer. Not waiting for the nail polish to dry before the next coat. Putting the furniture together without reading the instructions, only to find out I just tightened the nut down on a part that was supposed to go somewhere else. Not waiting a day or two to proofread that manuscript one final time; or better yet, to have handed it over for a second set of eyes to critique. Not waiting to hear from God on a specific request, but rather, figuring that “silence is consent” on His part. I can criticize Abraham and Sarah’s rush for the fulfilled promise all I want; but I’ve tried to get ahead of God’s plan too, thinking He surely must need my input, surely He must have gotten busy and forgotten me…I’ve done it more times than I can count.
I read somewhere once that the way to set up a peach tree for future bumper crops is to pluck off all the first year’s peaches while they’re still green and discard them. Whaaaaaaa?!!! I’d love to have a peach orchard on a big piece of property somewhere someday, but I can only imagine how hard it would be to cast off that first crop! Matter of fact, Levitical law actually requires the children of Israel to do that for the first three years…then the fourth year’s crop is sanctified holy to the Lord, then they may do as they wish with the fruit beginning with the fifth year. Interesting that even HE didn’t want the “first fruits” to be the firstfruits. Why, He even made provisions for rotating ground crops and letting the land rest. It’s little wonder that by obeying these religious laws, their land is so fertile and the produce so abundant. God always knows what He’s doing–He wrote the original Farmer’s Almanac!
What gets us in a pickle is trying to shortcut around what we know to be right. It takes faith in order to trust Him enough to count certain things as a loss in order to attain something better in the long run. It’s the test that we perhaps fail the most often. We might ask, “God, You knew how this would turn out…why did I have to waste my time going through the whole process just to walk away with nothing?” Disappointment is hard; but if we will let Him, God can build character and consistency in us when we choose to keep trying in the wake of failures. We see one scenario playing out, when in fact, He has the entire view from start to finish and has a better plan–something more than we can ask or think! Letting the process run its entire course; it’s what makes millionaires out of ordinary investors–not trying to pull out dividends as soon as they start accumulating, and not trying to sell off shares every time there’s a bear market year. Fear makes us foolish; faith makes us flourish!
Father, help us build this kind of resolve–to count the losses as mere trial runs, and to keep persevering while we wait patiently on Your plan for our lives. When we can’t believe that the invention, the song, the book, the piece of art, the business, the ministry, or whatever enterprise we’ve embarked upon did not bear a bumper crop, help us not to give up. Maybe it was a very good project that seemed foolproof, and then it flopped. Maybe, however, it was one of those first few crops that was meant to perish in order for our tree to be rooted deep and to be stronger and more consistent for many years to come.
We roll our works upon You–we commit and trust them wholly to You–and will do things Your way! We believe that, according to Proverbs 16:3, You will cause our thoughts to become agreeable to Your will. Wow! You’ll even help our thought life to align with what is going to work–Your will. When that happens, our plans shall be established and succeed! Yes, we CAN prune off what seems to promise to be a sure thing if that’s what You know will guarantee a better outcome later. We CAN rest when You say rest, knowing that obedience will take us so much farther than our best efforts to rush to a hasty quick-fix finish. Make us willing to fail in order to eventually succeed. Teach us to wait upon You, and to never give up!