Sometimes it’s hard to believe that God knows what He is doing. When are my Japanese friends going to finally experience the good news of the gospel? When is this kid I’ve been ministering to going to quit being so difficult? What is God waiting on? Doesn’t He care?
Then I go through my list of complaints with God – You’re so incompetent (no, that’s not true), uncaring (nope, not that either), slow… oh, that’s right – He’s just patient. So much more patient than I am! And come to find out, the main thing he’s waiting on is my own stubborn heart. Over the past few years, I have mistakingly called “slow” what is really a methodical, surgically precise vine-dresser intent on bearing fruit not just THROUGH us, but IN us as well.
I wish we could say we’ve arrived, but we’re starting to realize that it’s going to be a lifelong process, this cycle of God intentionally frustrating our plans in order to bring us to repentance, faith, and deeper delight. There’s no other way to experience the vastness of the love of Jesus – the depth and height and breadth of his provision – than to keep coming back every hour for more.
And all the waiting and pruning has not been in vain. As my own heart is changing and I’m learning to confess more of my weakness and disbelief, other people are opening up, too. Kids I’ve been hanging out with since I got here are finally starting to share what’s really going on in their hearts. We are seeing the Holy Spirit bearing fruit in all of our lives.
Some of it’s dramatic like the 6 baptisms we witnessed this last year, or students who were previously disengaged now saying that they don’t want to miss chapel because they really need to hear what God has to say about things. Some of it is more subtle, like the way I can now pick up where I left off with an MK from Tokyo (because we’ve actually become a steady enough presence in his life), or the fact that when we host a youth event there are other adults who show up to invest in the lives of our students (because they’ve caught the vision).
Fruit grows slow, but I have a feeling the Vine-dresser’s not looking at His watch like I am. I bet He’s looking at us and celebrating the fruit. I’m praying that I can be more like Him this year.