Do you ever feel impatient to see God’s work in yourself and those you love? One of the ideas that I have been thinking about for the last several months is God’s timetable.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. I Peter 3:8-9
When I see how slow I am to grow spiritually sometimes, I forget that God’s timetable is different from mine.
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. James 5:7-8
I love the picture of a farmer waiting for the harvest. I am reminded that much of the work I am attempting with my children is a process. I will plant seeds that may take years to germinate, and I must have the patience to wait on God’s timing. I must strengthen my heart and be faithful in uncertainty and difficulty, because Jesus is coming soon.
God, the Ancient of Days, possesses an understanding of time beyond my ability. I can trust the Ancient One’s timing.
- In the military, the timing of friends is constantly changing. Meeting friends, developing friendships, saying goodbye, all reflect God-given timing. Right now, I can do my part by making developing godly friendships with my children a priority, but ultimately I must rest in God’s timing. Understanding God’s sovereignty over people who come in and out of my life helps me, and helps me as I help my children.
- I must be patient as I watch my children develop an appetite for spiritual things. It’s hard to know if a newborn is hungry by waving a steak in front of him. As I seek to feed my baby Christian children the milk of God’s word, I am reminded that their spiritual growth is gradual, just like mine. I can teach the Bible as best as I know how, but God is the one who makes the seeds of the Bible grow fruit.
- Thinking about God’s timing makes me wonder if my children will ever learn to eat politely at the table. This isn’t really spiritual, except that I need to trust that they will learn how to eat politely someday without reminders and correction.
- Taking responsibility for picking up after themselves and becoming life-long learners. I’m challenged to think by decade. God didn’t create humans to grow up in ten years, even though he could have. I can deliberately teach small things over a period of many years.
- And God’s timing is not merely a topic I consider for my children. As always, I have to go back to God’s Word, examine my own heart, and listen to what God is teaching me personally.
I just read the book Turn This Ship Around by L. David Marquet. It’s not a parenting book, but a management book by a military submarine commander. I read it with my long-term goals of encouraging independence in mind, recognizing that my tendency to micromanage my family is counterproductive to this goal. It’s been challenging and thought provoking.