John 10:40-42 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” And in that place many believed in Jesus.
Sometimes it just takes time.
I was discouraged. I had been working so hard, praying so hard, and nothing seemed to be happening. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like that-- whether it’s been something you’ve been working towards or a person you’ve been praying for or a dream you’ve tried to put into motion, but it can be disheartening. A few months had passed since the launch of our new church and I had been reading so many books, spending so many hours in the community, and attending glossy conferences where amazing success stories were shared, but none of these were having a rapid effect on church attendance. It was during a panicked phone calls with a mentor, after I threatened once again to quit the ministry and enter a monastery, that words of wisdom hit my ears: “Relax, Kris. These things take time.”
And he was right—they did.
We live in a microwave culture that expects prodigious results right here and right now. We expect fruit right away, for success to come quickly, for deep relationships to form rapidly. But they rarely do. Most of the time, we rarely get to see the sprouting of the seeds we’ve planted. And if we do, it’s often because someone else has tilled the soil before us. That was the case with Jesus and John the Baptist. John, locked away in prison and eventually beheaded, never got to see the fruit of his labor, of his years of preparing people for Jesus’ coming. He barely got to glimpse the number of people who would come to believe in Jesus because of his ministry. When Jesus re-crosses the Jordan, the people flock to him, remembering John’s words, their hearts already prepared. It took a number of years for John’s words to take root in their souls; his labor had not been in vain.
Just because we don’t see the fruit of our labor immediately doesn’t mean nothing is happening or that we should quit. Just because it doesn’t look like the success we pictured doesn’t mean we should give up. And just because we haven’t experienced a huge harvest doesn’t mean God isn’t at work. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves just to be obedient today and to keep the perspective of the long haul and the end game. Even if we, ourselves, don't get to see it.
Relax--Jesus is coming. Sometimes it just takes time.
On Today's Road: What have you been working toward or praying for that seems like nothing’s happening? What expectations do you need to let go of? What do you need to give more time and depend on God’s timing?