I have a hibiscus (non-gardeners, hear: flower) on my back porch and it just bloomed. Frankly, it can’t stop blooming. I knew that it was happening. I could see all of the signs. In the morning, I started taking pictures in half-hour increments, but there was no way that I could sit there and watch it happen. I couldn’t capture it. The transformation from a bulb to a bloom is only discernible over time. I wish I had one of those really cool cameras that could sit there all day and take time-elapsed photos to document the bloom. Instead, I took about four pictures with my phone, posted them on Facebook and Instagram and called it a day.
This sort of slow growth made me consider the topic of becoming.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new, and yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability – and that it may take a very long time…Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that His hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
– Teilhard de Chardin (from the Blue Book)
Transformation takes time and, like this author states, I get “impatient of being.” As children of God, spiritual growth is inevitable. He tells us that he will complete the work he has begun in us (Phil. 1:6), but he doesn’t give us a timetable.
There are many pictures in the Bible of this slow growth. The Lord cuts and shapes the vines. He plants seeds and makes them grow. He sends the rain. All of this is by his hand and usually seems to happen in slow motion. The Lord Jesus talks of seeds and sowers. He calls himself the vine dresser. The Spirit grows fruit in the believer. All of these illustrations indicate that spiritual growth takes time and faith.
When I think of my own spiritual growth, I sometimes get discouraged. Sometimes I wonder, “What is the Lord teaching me right now?” It’s hard for me to put anything into words. But, I know he must be doing something, right? Maybe a better question I should ask is: “What has the Lord been teaching me over the last six months?” Or even better: “What is something that the Lord has been teaching me over the past two years?”
It takes perspective to see what the Lord is doing. He is always doing something and he is never finished this side of heaven. Like my hibiscus, blooms are inevitable. Sometimes growth is happening underneath the soil where no one but the Father can see it. He is doing the work and he will finish it.
Posted: 7.31.2017 in Women’s Ministry Share: