by Molly Audiss
Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”
My Grandpa Golden had a silly phrase that he used to use often- “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” Isn’t that true? It seems that, in our fast-paced world, the more we try to hurry things along, the farther behind we seem to be. Think about how different our lives are from most of the people who live now, and have lived since time began. Since God made man, the means of transportation stayed the same for about 6,000 years- horses, camels, donkeys. In just the last 100 years men have begun using cars, trains, planes, rockets. That thought is amazing to me. The pace at which people lived was so much slower for most of history (and even today for those in many countries.) But here we are; our lives consist of computers, cell phones, microwaves, washing machines, and dishwashers. We really have no concept of the life most human beings through the ages.
For that reason, we are used to having everything immediately. If it takes more than 5 minutes to get supper in the drive through, we think that we are wasting time. If our internet connection takes more than a couple seconds to link us to someone half-way around the world, than we need to upgrade our software. I, for one, love all of my modern conveniences, and would not trade places with anyone that lived long ago. But, I must admit, that with the speed of my life, I could easily get a wrong idea of how quickly the important things in my life should take place.
No matter how fast our world becomes, the things of real value still take time. That has not changed. If you order quality custom furniture, expect it to take 4 to 6 months before it arrives. God shows us through nature that the best things happen slowly. Look at the growing season. If you want corn, it will take about 5 months to grow. All food has a growing season that cannot be rushed. We cannot have summer or winter arrive more quickly than it ever has, because God controls the seasons, and everything that God does is of the highest quality. We should look at nature for a lesson on patience. Anything of great value cannot be rushed.
The things of greatest value in our lives are our relationships. Our relationship with the Lord, and our relationship with others are the most valuable possessions we have. We cannot expect these relationships to bloom and ripen overnight. Great relationships take a lifetime of growing, and should never be expected to be “done” in “microwave-time.” Patience is something that I often struggle with, and slowing down my expectations of myself and others is something that I must do regularly. Here are a few areas in which we should slow down and have patience.
- Our Christian growth. From the time we get saved, until the day we enter heaven, Jesus Christ is slowly and patiently working in our lives, to fit us to the image of Christ. (Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.) He is not in a hurry to make us Super Christian. The Lord wants us to enjoy the pace at which our relationship matures in Him. If we are constantly down on ourselves because of our mistakes and our sin, we miss the joy of the journey with Christ. The devil wants us to focus on ourselves and our shortcomings instead of the pleasure that we, as sinful creatures, bring to our Creator if we focus on Him and the miracle He is working through us. Let’s not fall for the trick of satan; let’s forget about us, and dwell on the goodness of God. This is a relationship that will keep growing through all eternity. Don’t raise the bar so high for yourself, that you keep falling short. Each day is a new day to start fresh with the Lord. Isn’t He kind and gracious and long-suffering? Lam 3:22and 23 It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
- Our marriage relationship. On the day of our wedding, we are confident that we have just married the person that we understand completely. We think alike and get along so well! It does not take many months (weeks? days?) to realize that our spouse is someone who sees things totally differently than we do. His opinions about things are very different than ours! Who is this person, and where is the perfect man I married who agreed with me on everything? (This spoken by the bride of three months.) Well, the Lord knew the weaknesses of each person in the marriage, and He brought them together with someone who could help them reach their full potential. Marriage is a wonderful journey with the person that the Lord chose to help bring you closer to Christ. A great marriage does not happen in a month, or a year, but over a lifetime. Let’s never get discouraged, or disillusioned, or even divorced because our Prince Charming turns out to be less than the perfect man. We may have come into a marriage with our realities perverted by romance movies or novels. Give your marriage the time it takes to grow. Love deepens over decades. What a shame to bail out when the seed has barely been planted. Wait until harvest to expect a fully mature marriage. The growing season can be a lot of fun! More than that, Christ wants our marriages to be a picture of His relationship with us. He never gives up on us. He has the patience and vision to see what we will be down the road. Let’s have a vision of what our marriages can become through prayer and praise and patience.
- Our children. Let’s have a long-term goal for our children, and not expect them to be perfect, or even close, as we do the day-to-day training. It is like weeding a garden. Keep in mind what the garden will be at the end of the summer. Sometimes weeding is hard work and no fun, but the rewards are worth it. Mrs. Jeanine Nelson taught me to pray very specific prayers for my children. I have tried to do this. As I was expecting each of my children. One of those prayers was that my child would be healthy enough, so that I could be faithful to the church services. Church is vital to me, and I wanted my children to miss as few services as possible the first few years of life. God graciously answered those prayers. Other prayers I pray for my boys is that they will have a passionate heart for God. I also pray that they will love reading, be good with finances, and be very close to their father. I pray many things for them, and God is so kind; I do not know what they will be, but I will keep a vision for them all of my life. Prayer is such a wonderful tool God gives a mother! Let’s never expect things too soon, but be patient in prayer, year after year.
- Answered Prayer. God is never in a hurry. He answers our prayers on His time table. He is never worried, anxious, or nervous, and if we are to be Christ-like we will not be nervous, either. I have found that, the times in my life that I just had to have something from God, to the point where it completely ruled my thoughts every day- that these were not the times when I really received great answers from God. We should try to calm down, slow down, and have patience, knowing that God knows what is best in our lives. Let’s never try to twist God’s arm and get Him to see things our way. He sees the whole picture, and we do not. He will do what is right in our lives. Allow Him time to work miracles for His glory.
Let’s strive for patience in our lives and in our relationships. God will work His will through us in a great and mighty way! Give it time.
Photo by RODOLFO BARRETO on Unsplash