And “patience is a virtue” are two things I heard a lot growing up. Keyword: “heard”. I did not always see it practiced in financial matters, relational matters, or spiritual matters if I’m honest (and I do strive to be).
As an adolescent I was enamored with fantasy and my favorite fantasies were those that involved the underdog being magically gifted with something they lacked, overnight. Whether it was a fairy godmother arranging a dress, shoes and a carriage for the ball, or a poor country mama and her 5 children moving in with a rich divorcée and his two spoiled children as a nanny then falling in love, i.e. “The Torkelsons”, I could not get enough. The more magical, the better.
There is nothing wrong with using your imagination and suspending belief for a time in order to enjoy one of these fantastic plots, but the problem came when I compared my wants in real life, with those to a TV show or film. This thinking lead me to believe that if I wanted these things, I might wish upon a shooting star, think happy thoughts, or pray really hard to win the lotto, it might happen. My mother embodied these beliefs to a degree as well going as far as sticking a lottery ticket between the pages of her Bible.
In my teen and young adult years, because of comparison and impatience, I found a new way to make things happen quick fast and in a hurry. Credit.
If I wanted it, I wanted it now because life is short and you should be able to enjoy the things in it while you are here, right? Wrong, because life is NOT enjoyable when the monster of debt is looming at your door. Half the time you buy all this stuff, still have a gaping emotional void, and don’t remember why you thought purchasing that 64 inch projection TV or gold herringbone chain would enhance life. Most material things we buy in this world are because we want them to say something about us. Maybe it’s that we are prosperous, pretty, handsome, fun, smart, sexy or talented. What we invest in, shows what we are into. And whether or not you save to purchase it or buy it on credit determines just how desperate you are to have it say something about you. Don’t believe me? Just look at the major purchases you made or the time you spent on someone or something. What do you want that thing you bought on credit to say about you? How about the things you invest your time in? In the end, and after many hard knocks, I realized what my impulse purchasing and credit said about me. I needed to fill a void and salve my wounds. It took therapy and much book reading to recognize and battle it, but I know I am not the only one.
Flash forward to my foray into gardening. I have always wanted to grow my own food. I find myself always at the grocery store, paying inflated prices for a bag of baby carrots and cucumbers that are usually genetically modified. I hooked up with one of my college friends who owns a horticultural business and begged him to help me start my garden. I wanted cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, kale and onion. He put in the hard work and purchased the starter plants to get my garden growing. I lovingly admired the plants everyday, watering them until they grew from sprouts to big, leafy, flowering plants.
My friend and his wife live in Indianapolis, and so he isn’t always able to commute here for assistance with my garden, but we have phone consultations and text about the progress. One morning I woke up and noticed a weed growing in my lawn, to which I decided that some of the plants in my garden must be weeds. So we texted and he asked me to take a picture to see if there were weeds and if so I would need to pull them right away.
Me, being the “proactive” fast finger Freddie I am, decided that I recognized two of the weeds myself and pulled them. When I saw the roots, something told me that I pulled them a bit too prematurely. I Googled what a tomato plant looks like (thanks Google) and wouldn’t you know it, it was the “weed” that I just pulled. 🤭😭😭😭
I was devastated. In a rush to try and “help” my garden grow better, I destroyed it. As the pit of my stomach grew hot and I cried on the inside, a Word from scripture played in my mind.
1 Samuel 13:8-14 is a story of Saul and Samuel. God spoke to men directly in these days because His written Word was not finished, and like the committed Father He is, He wanted to reveal who He was so that His children would trust Him and know Him. Saul and Samuel were in the middle of a war and Saul and his men were smack dab in the middle of enemy territory. Samuel, the commander, had to leave and told Saul to wait for seven days there for his return. This is what The Lord commanded Samuel to do, but Saul n’em didn’t know that. They were caught up in the fear of being left alone and the Philistines overtaking them. Now I’m sure Saul, like many of us, was thinking,
“Soooo, you just gone leave me and your army in the middle of enemy territory for a week? And you expect us to wait for your return without telling us what you are doing?” 🤔 Nah fam.
So Saul took it upon himself to take action (be proactive) and offer a burnt offering and a fellowship offering to The Lord (fast finger Freddie). God knew best and was going to give the land to Saul for all time if he followed instructions and waited the seven appointed days. All he had to do was wait. Be patient. Oh, but no see, he just had to pull the tomatoes and cucumbers because he thought he was helping. He did it out of fear that they would be overtaken by the Philistines with Samuel gone, and I did it out of ignorance and fear that my plants would not grow, not recognizing that it was my actual fruit (blessing).
As soon as Saul gave the burnt offerings, Samuel returned and fussed at him asking why he did that. He told him that he disobeyed God’s commands and since he couldn’t be patient and wait, he would not get to have Israel established under him. Now God would give the blessing to someone after his own heart, who would turn out to be David whom Saul eventually resented and tried to kill!
Just think of the blessing he could have had if he would have waited and not tried to do what he thought was best with lack of knowledge.
Just think of the tomatoes and cucumbers I could have had by now if I had only waited for instruction from the more knowledgeable person that helped me grow my garden. Doing that taught me a very painful lesson about myself. That not only do I cut off and tear down blessings in my life by thinking I have it all under control and trying to be “proactive”, but I also self-sabotage when I think that I know better than God what is for me. That’s crazy, hamster-wheel thinking. I don’t know best, He does. He will work all things together for my good…if I don’t mess it up.
We often think because we don’t see Him or He is taking too long to give us an answer to our prayers, that we have to take action and go around His Perfect Will to make things happen. When you go around it, you end up encountering all the trouble you could have avoided if you would have just been patient. Now Saul couldn’t wait seven days, some of us can’t wait seven minutes, and I speak from experience. The saying “good things come to those who wait” is so true. Since God sits outside of time, His timing is perfect. Not only that, but He knows us all individually and what is best for us. That’s why sometimes the things for which we pray are not given. Birds always have food and grass always grows because God provides what is needed. How much more will he provide for you, a person that He made in His image? (Paraphrased Matthew 6:25-34)
Pulling those plants was a lesson for me. God does speak today, and He does so through His Word. If you know it well, He speaks that much more because there is nothing in this life that we go through that hasn’t already been done and spoken to in His Word. I took two lessons from that situation. Obedience and Patience. Those virtues equal Discipline. They both go hand in hand and while I have fully developed them in some areas, they are abundantly lacking in others.
I ask God to grant me the peace that comes with contentment and the patience that comes with obedience. Help me to lean on His Will and have faith that He is working on whatever the challenge, for my good, because I love Him, and He loves me. Help me to sit tight in the waiting place and keep my fast fingers and control issues to myself, because if I could furnish myself with all of these virtues, I would have done it long ago, and would have no need for a spirit greater than I. I would be that for myself and that would make me supremely selfish to have all that power and yet people are still homeless and starving.
At any rate, take a look at the things in your life that you are prematurely damaging because of your fear and impatience, and try giving those fears up to God and abiding in Him. You will find that things grow a lot faster. 😉