Tag Archives: patience

Mango tree

I hate waiting…

Since I moved to an island I’ve realized that they way to get the very best fruit is to eat whatever is currently in season. Strawberries appear in May, cherries in July, figs in September, and clementines in December- fresh and delicious, and at their very best in their own season. But if you want cherries in September, well, you’re probably just going to have to wait.

I’m a bit like the cheeky children in a story I heard from my friend Bron.
In the front yard of their old house in a remote town in Mozambique they had a wonderful mango tree. It was heavy with fruit and they were looking forward to sharing a bumper harvest with their friends and neighbours. They patiently waited and watched as the fruit grew, happily anticipating the day when they were sweet enough to eat and dreaming about jam, pies and fruit salad!

Unfortunately, the children of that neighborhood are not great at waiting. Much to my friends’ frustration, these kids would sneak into the yard and eat the mangos while they were still green, hard and sour. That first year, most of the fruit never had the opportunity to ripen!

God’s word for me this week has been simply this- to eat fruit in the right season.

Eat fruit in the right season

Sometimes we can see what God is growing in our lives a bit ahead of time. But if we are in a hurry to harvest what we see growing on the tree, if we push into something ahead of God’s timing, we risk missing out on the sweetness it would have had if only we had waited to the right time.

Don’t eat fruit that isn’t ripe yet

On the other hand, I don’t want to let caution, laziness, or lack of awareness stop me from bringing in the harvest when it’s ready.

but don’t leave ripe fruit to rot on the tree

That’s all very well, I thought, but when it comes to the opportunities in front of me, how on earth am I supposed to discern which ones are ripe for picking and which aren’t yet?

I stumbled across the answer on Wikipedia while I was looking for a picture to paint from:
you can tell when a mango is ripe because it smells really, really good.

Pray this week that God would give you the nose to smell out which ‘fruit’ is ripe so you can be aware when you are tempted to jump ahead of God’s timing, or when you’re being too cautious to reach out and enjoy what’s in front of you.

Enjoy whatever is on the tree this week. May it one way or another be a blessing to you.

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There’s more than one way to Manchester Airport

When I was a child, if we were driving somewhere and Dad said, “I think we’ll take a scenic route” it was never good news. Usually it meant that we were lost…

Maybe because of that, or perhaps just because I’m generally impatient to get to where I’m going, the concept of the scenic route has never appealed to me.  I’ve always thought that journeys are something you want to get over with quickly – life happens at destinations.

I’m pretty much the same when it comes to living.  When I hear a whisper from God about where he might want to take me, I become anxious to get there as soon as possible.  I would pick the direct, fast, straight-line, know-exactly-where-you’re-going motorway route every time.

However…

In my experience, life with Jesus is much more like taking the A-roads (and often some ‘B’ ones).  There are destinations, sure, but he is in charge of the route to get to them, and he may well want me to take in some beautiful views and visit a few other interesting places on the way.

I learned something about this last year when some friends kindly offered to drive me from Derby to Manchester Airport.  “We’ll come early” they said, “and drive across country – that way you’ll enjoy the journey”. I didn’t tell them that it had never even occured to me that there was more than one way to Manchester Airport, or that it was possible to do anything other than endure a journey!

Our not-motorway route took us around the edges of the Peak District and past breathtaking scenery, through industrial towns and forgotten villages, up hills and down, through places where people live and nature grows.  It was anything but a straight line and took us much longer to get to the airport, but for once, I actually enjoyed it.

The A-road life can feel hugely frustrating.  Especially if, like me, you are wired a bit impatiently.  Where are the big blue signs that I’m heading towards my ‘destination’?  Where are the numbers that tell me how far I have left to go and how much longer I have to wait? Can I even be sure I’m heading the right way?

Even if I’m carrying in the back of my mind the feeling that the airport is somewhere up ahead in my future, I have no idea how long it will take to get there, or how near or far away I am.

On the B-road route, there are no signs pointing the way to the airport until you are almost there.

You could be five miles away and still not know.

You just have to trust the driver.

manchester airport

That’s it, that’s what I’m trying to get my head around:

I don’t even need to have a look at the map.  Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.  He is the map

I just have to trust the driver, lean back, and see what I can learn along the way.

And if we take the scenic route, so be it, I’m going to enjoy the ride.

…because we definitely won’t be lost.

The Way God Moves…

OK, I’ll admit it…  God doesn’t always act the way I expect Him to.  His timing can be wonderful and it can be extremely frustrating!

It seems to me that in the kingdom of God there’s a lot of waiting and a fair amount of suddenly. And the suddenly-stuff would often fit in neatly under the heading of not-quite-what-I-expected.

We often expect our progress towards the things God has promised us to be step by step in a straightforward direction, like the pawn on a chessboard.  But perhaps it’s more normal to be a bishop!

The pieces on a chess board each have their own unique way of moving.  The pawns mostly move one step at a time, forwards.  The bishops on the other hand can move right across the board (diagonally) in one move.   They often spend most of the early part of the game not moving, but can go from hiding at the back to the thick of the battle in an instant – suddenly.

So I’ve painted a chess-bishop this week for all those sitting on the back row wondering when God will use them and how.   And for those who have heard God’s call on their life to do something, and yearn for a step-by-step obvious route to get there, but don’t see the ‘pieces’ neatly falling into place.

I went to see a school production of the musical ‘Joseph’ last week. It was great, but a really odd piece of the music got stuck in my head (still there). Sung by the narrator to Joseph, hopeless, in prison:

‘strange as it seems there’s been a run of crazy dreams, and a man who can interpret could go far..’

I feel like God is drawing my attention to something here…

The line marks the moment when Joseph, alone in the prison, is about to be asked to interpret Pharaoh’s dream.  It’s the big turning point in the story:  It looks as though Joseph is as far as he can be from the promises that God gave him and yet there is barely time for a shave and change of clothes before he stands before Pharaoh interpreting his dream.  In a matter of hours Joseph goes from prison to power, from hopelessness to walking out into the promise God had given him all those years before.

Joseph had years and years of waiting and then a ‘suddenly’.

I hate waiting.  Patience is a fruit I’m yet to grow much of.  But I know that I shouldn’t abandon his promises for me and my family just because His timing is not what I’d expected.  So, when I am trying to work out how God could possibly give me the things I have heard Him whisper,  I’m learning to remember that it may not be step-by-step in a straight line that I get there.

It might be suddenly.

 

waiting
impatiently
for a moment in battle
unwillingly
hidden
away
struggling
painfully
with unresolved promises
fighting to hear
what you say
desperately
hoping
I've not been forgotten
fearfully 
wondering why?

and  then  suddenly

Bishop FB

 

If you’d like to take this further, why not meditate on and pray through Psalm 40 1:3.

Or write down in your journal some of the things God has promised you, but that you’re not walking in yet and ask God to help you to wait for them with faith.