Our Tuesday night group has just finished a study through Galatians. I love that book because it helps me break further out of a religious mindset toward the things of God and see the way he actually works with greater clarity. Case in point:
Paul warns us here that many things God does don’t come to fruition over night. God is never in a hurry, always choosing the deeper more complete work over the quick fix. Our culture has made us servants of the quick fix. We want everything right now, and when we don’t see our acts of obedience producing the kind of outcome we want, it is easy to give up. We conclude either that our relationship with God isn’t deep enough or our efforts are not good enough to secure his working. We even begin to wonder if our Father even cares about the circumstances we are in and find ourselves separated from him in frustration at the time we most need to lean into him with confidence.
We become like the young farmer who rips out his young grape vines after the first year because they had no grapes on them. He thought grapes were like wheat and come to fruition in the first year. Vines don’t work like that. It takes five years to bring a vineyard into production and if you don’t know that you won’t see it through until the harvest.
I see so many believers start out well and when they don’t see the results they expected to see after a few months or even a couple of years, they begin to doubt themselves or God. They lose their heart and either live in frustration or try to find their fulfillment again back in the things of the world. They keep missing what God wants to do in them because they can’t stick with it long enough to see the fruit that he wants to produce in them.
I guess the upshot is this. If we’re focused on outcomes we’ll lose our heart very easily as God takes time to work deeply in us and in people around us. If we’re focused on him instead, then it won’t matter how long he takes because we’ll be with him in the process. We’ll be able to keep on the path he’s put before us until the harvest is complete. He is working in you, you know, to will and to do of his good pleasure whether you can see it or not. Just because you can’t see the fruit of it yet, doesn’t mean it isn’t developing for a future time. Relax in him. He has not abandoned you. He will complete what he has begun, just don’t expect him to do it in your time frame and you’ll be freer to enjoy him in the process.