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Isaiah 60:22b When the time is right, I, the Lord, will make it happen
Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law
As a farm girl, I learned early on that there’s a best time to harvest a crop. This principle is especially true with fruits. For if you pick something too early, it’s not big, sweet, dark, or tender enough for that perfect first bite where the juices run down your chin and onto your shirt. The same principle holds true for too late, notably in having that sunny sweet tenderness without bad spots, mold, or worms.
That sweet spot of time in harvest corresponds to when there’s been enough sun, moisture, and development for maximum sugar and hormone production without growth of excessive fibrous material. In other words, there’s enough maturity there to hold things together well without interfering with those tender tissues and delicious sugars.
Now that’s not to say that fruits picked too early or too late are without use. The early ones are good for ripening on a kitchen windowsill or in a paper bag to save for later. The late ones are good for jams, jellies, or juices, or cobblers, crisps, or cakes.
But the very best fruits are those picked in the fullness of time and enjoyed immediately in the field, garden, orchard, or vineyard where there’s always a good place to spit the seeds and it doesn’t matter if the juices drip off the chin or hands. That sunshine-on-my-tongue-taste earned from the hard work to bring this luscious bite of fruit does indeed signify that this is a good day. (Or a very good day if the fruit is that ever-elusive perfect hear-it-crack-open watermelon!)
The fruits taste even better on this good day of harvest because I’ve longed for it over many days of watching, waiting, praying, and hoping. None of these actions of watching, waiting, praying and hoping were passive. All were active, essential, and often hard.
Yes, ma’am, they are hard. For if you’re anything like me, there’s (almost) nothing harder than watching, waiting, praying, and hoping. I like things done and done now. To check that task off the list and move to the next. To revel in a sense of satisfaction with completion and the adventure of the new in the next task.
Yet, I’m learning that this satisfaction of something checked off or done began in the lie that I had control over it. The lie that my control of it will then be enough to conquer and control whatever is next on the list or in the day. And I’m learning that this delusion is actually my living in fear. The fear that I’m not enough for the next which can’t be silenced by the list of what’s done. The fear that I wasn’t even enough for the what’s done which could’ve been done better by someone else.
These lies can and will choke new life growing in me if I listen to them.
For I’m (slowly) learning that the watching, waiting, hoping, and praying for when the time is right, the Lord [does] make it happen is oh so sweet! That the delightful spot of trusting Him in the now and the not-yet brings joy that spills over my heart and drips out onto others in my life. That nothing is better than that first bite into my heart’s desires laid out in a feast He’s laid before me after the hard work of delighting myself in Him (see Psalm 23 and 37:4).
The unmistakable delight of seeing the impossible and unimaginable in my dusty life bloom in the fullness of time after the long days and nights of seeing nothing but bare ground (see Ephesians 3:20-21). Now that’s even more delicious than the perfect watermelon on a hot August afternoon!
In contrast, I’m learning that when I “help” my Good Gardener God with something I should’ve watched, waited, hoped, and prayed for, the joy is flat and dry like unripe fruit. Sure, there is the joy that the something is done but it’s almost like eating a dull red on the outside, white on the inside, hard grocery store tomato in January while fighting back the memories of that luscious Better Boy beefsteak mater I had in July from daddy’s garden. There’s really no comparison; there’s only regrets that linger on the tongue and in the heart and mind.
And now, I’m writing this from that place of watching, waiting, hoping, and praying which seems to get longer and harder with time. But I don’t think I’m alone here. Most likely, you’re either here or have been or will be here soon, too. So let’s read this verse from James 5:7 together Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waiting for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.
We can be good farmers and wait patiently in the strength our Good Gardener God provides for today. And then we can do the same again tomorrow in the strength given there. For when the time is right…[our] Lord, will make it happen. Nothing is impossible or even too hard for Him (see Luke 1:27 and Jeremiah 32:17).
And nothing includes an overflowing cornucopia harvest of fruit in our lives of His Spirit as seen in Galatians 5:22-23But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Jesus tells me that this harvest is truly worth watching, waiting, hoping, and praying for in the dust of today and the dream of tomorrow. For this harvest is for eternity for far more people than I can ever feed with the little garden of my heart.
Dear Father God,
Thank You that Your timing and way are always best. Thank You that You are always at work, whether or not I can see something happening. Please help me to watch, wait, hope, and pray for Your harvest. Please send the rains to refresh my dusty soul today and help me to dream of what You have planned for tomorrow.
In the strong Name of Jesus,
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Written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2022.