Envision taking a walk through your neighborhood in perfect fall weather. A briskness in the air keeps you moving just enough to stay warm. Big, white, fluffy clouds outline blue skies. But then dark gray clouds begin to roll in, and the wind picks up. You’re at least a minute’s walk from your house. You turn around, picking up your pace, hoping to not get caught in a downpour. As you open the front door of your home, you hear a loud clap of thunder, and the rain begins.
Your wait for safety was only a minute.
Now envision a couple who have been married for years. As they watch friends have children, they dream of the day they will have a child of their own. A child they can rock to sleep in their loving arms. A child they can teach to throw a baseball. A child for whom they can buy ballet slippers and pink tutus and take to dance lessons. Their physicians are hopeful, but doctor visit after doctor visit, they watch women with pregnant bellies come and go.
Their wait can’t yet be measured.
The writer of Ecclesiastes notes,“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace” (vv. 3:1–8 ESV).
Seasons—fall, winter, spring, and summer—come and go. Leaves fall and gather on the floor of the earth, signaling that colder weather is upon us, leading to snow-covered streets and trees. Then spring comes, melting away the snow, inciting the blooming of flowers and leading us into long summer nights with lightning bugs flickering and s’mores around a bonfire. Being patient throughout each season requires vision.
In the Bible, we read story after story of seasons, of patience. Sarah waited until she was ninety years old and Abraham one hundred to have their child, Isaac. Hannah wept in the temple year after year, begging for a son of her own before becoming pregnant with Elijah. Jacob labored for fourteen years before he married the love of his life. Jesus, our Savior, waited thirty-three years to fulfill his destiny. Thirty-three years of waiting and watching his people hurt, lonely and desperate for a Savior and Redeemer.
An apple seed’s potential is more than what we hold in our hands. It gets planted deep into the rich soil, where we can’t see it. But with vision, we believe the seed buried in the ground is sprouting, that roots are growing, and that it will become a big, red, juicy piece of fruit.
We envision the next season coming, and that with it the seed God plants will rise and bring forth fruit. Although that growth isn’t always visible, we believe it’s taking place. That’s where vision and faith step in, even when we don’t understand God’s timing. We may not see all that God is doing, but we believe he’s working all things for our good. We need that vision, continuing to believe the promises of God are still coming to fruition.
Sometimes that fruition comes in an instant. But it often takes time—a short time, or a long time. Sometimes it even takes a lifetime. When we wait, we may not see what’s on the other side, but God does. His timing is perfect. He is never late. He is never a “no-show.” He is always right on time.
Photograph © Aaron Burden, used with permission