By Ty Hoad
God exists eternally, which means that He, as C.S. Lewis says in Mere Christianity, “…is not in Time.” Lewis goes on to explain, “If you picture time as a straight line along which we have to travel, then you must picture God as the whole page on which the line is drawn. We come to the parts one by one: we have to leave behind A before we get to B, and cannot reach C until we leave B behind. God, from above or outside or all around, contains the whole line, and sees it all.”
My greatest struggle with impatience is wanting to see more than God has allowed me to glimpse at that moment and try to do more than He is asking me to do.
At this moment, we are dealing with much uncertainty.
I have cried a lot.
Sighed a lot.
Expressed my anguish in many ways a lot.
Until one day, I had breakfast with The Lovely Heather at our favorite place and visited with a dear friend before heading over to our old house on Martha Place to see how renovations were coming along. That was when God allowed me to taste and share in a harvest that I really had so much — and at the same time — so very little to do with.
Over ten years ago, I planted table grapevines in the yard for Heather. For years, I watched the leaves grow — and the vines vining — but I saw no fruit.
Suddenly, I harvested over a half-pound of beautiful, juicy, snappy, sweet grapes directly from those vines. The exciting thing is, no one has been caring for these vines at the house — not my tenants, nor the gardener. The vines have simply been growing.
Years ago, I remembered all the fertilizing, careful planting, and cultivation I performed in the beginning. I remember the frustration of watering (or not watering depending on the season), pruning, guiding the vines, and then being told by a gardener after a year or so, “Grapes take a long time. Sometimes, they don’t even bear fruit. Truthfully, you may never actually eat grapes from these vines.” Ministry and obedient, faithful living can often be just like these grapevines.
This past year-and-a-half, being absent from Mozambique, we’ve watched several young men I met with daily begin walking with the Lord! Some have even been baptized while we’ve been away! One Sunday, we watched young men and women—people that Heather and I had cared for in the nursery, taught in Sunday school, fellowshipped with on Wednesday nights, or in Kid’s Church—baptized at our fellowship. We have had little to no contact with these men and women in recent years.
Like these vines, we left them to the care of their families and other faithful teachers because we were called elsewhere in the world. We rejoiced at the beautiful harvest of souls committed to The Lord! In God’s timing — all things are always happening!
We are called to live with an eternal perspective. So plant, water, cultivate — do your part and be obedient and faithful to the moment in which God has called you — and then watch what He will do!
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” — 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
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