Yea, there is strength in striking root, and good in growing old.I keep trying to write a post about Chesterton (that's him up top), and getting interrupted by a Leeland song playing in my head:
Time keeps moving on,There's a kind of potential to the mere passing of time that I think gets missed a lot. What is faithfulness without time to test it with? Or patience? Or endurance? Or friendship? Or love?
Through the sunshine and the storm.
And my dreams are set in stone,
And someday I'll be who I wanna be.
But for now
For the sun to shine again.
And for now
For the rain to pass away.
And I'm looking for the brighter days,
When all my hurts seem to fade away.
And I'm looking for the brighter days
To come my way.
How is diligence measured without time? What is hope without time?
But that is the hardest thing sometimes: just waiting for time to pass. Waiting for promises to be fulfilled, for prayers to be answered.
So often my desire is to skip to the end. If only I could fast forward to my goals and get on to the next thing.
I am learning that this is not a Scriptural perspective. The story of the Bible starts with a promise (the coming Redeemer) that wasn't fulfilled for thousands of years. But those years weren't dead time where God inflicted waiting for the sake of waiting. What happened in those years brought fullness and meaning and significance and beauty to everything that came after (including everything yet to come).
Solomon said that "hope deferred makes the heart sick, but the desire accomplished is a tree of life."
Think about it. A tree.
I haven't gardened a whole lot in my life, but any time I plant something I experience of test of patience. Waiting for a seed to germinate, and then to grow into a recognizable plant, and then to flower, and then to produce fruit -- that's a long process! It's especially tedious if you watch the plant each day, and nothing seems to have changed from the day before.
But those are just garden plants. What kind of patience does it take to wait for a tree?
Sometimes my impatience is the real-life equivalent of crawling around in the dirt, rooting out weedy-looking saplings. Fistful by grubby fistful, I shove the saplings into my Vase of Preconceived Notions, and shake my head at what ugly flowers they make.
When all the while my ugly "flowers" were only baby trees, Masterfully tended and growing exactly on schedule.
Those times when it seems like it's taking an especially long time for a problem to be solved or a prayer to be answered -- those are not proof of a forgetful or spiteful God, who puts His children on a waiting list or throws them into a special brand of cosmic time out.
Waiting times are just as much part of His purpose and plan as times of fulfillment. And those trees need every single second He's ordained to grow the right branches and leaves and flowers and fruit.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.