But 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!
It's not a word that you are often excited to hear. If it's something we're not looking forward to we would rather get it over with. If it's something we are looking forward to we just want to get there and enjoy it. Sometimes in life God tells us to wait on His timing. That's a lot easier to say than do!
Another segment of the Fruit of the Spirit is patience. Patience with other people and patience with God's timing.
Our family enjoys going on spontaneous hikes and our most recent one reminded me of what the journey of waiting on God feels like. You begin at the bottom of the mountain and you know that your destination is the top. The destination is a dream or desire that God has given you a hunger for. Our family hikes always begin very optimistic with excitement about the journey ahead and motivation to get started up the path. When we first realise a dream or desire in life we are full of enthusiasm for taking the first step towards it.
You follow the path which is clearly marked. As you begin to climb there are a few twists and turns but that's to be expected. You know it's not going to be straight forward to reach your dream or desire because our world has been corrupted by sin. You also know that God is more powerful than sin so you trust Him to guide you. As you get closer to what looks like the peak of the mountain, the path becomes more narrow and uneven. There are rocks to navigate and your legs are feeling the pain and tiredness from the climb. You can see the top though so one last push to reach it. A few more obstacles come in the way of reaching your dream. One or two little doubts start creeping in but then you remember the Almighty God is with you and those doubts soon disappear. You take that final step up to the crest of the mountain and breathe...
...only to find that this is not the summit. This is not your destination. There is actually another valley to go down into and another climb to reach the peak of the mountain. Quite often we think we have reached our desire but actually we're not there just yet and it is so tempting to not go any further. You've put in all this time, all this effort, all this emotion, yet there is still a long way to go. However, the next part into the valley is downhill so it can't be that bad. The descent begins, still watching your step as the ground is rough and marshy. The path pretty much disappears and all that's left to show you the direction are some wooden posts. At times it can feel like God has left you to figure out the way to your dream or desire all by yourself. This is when you need to look around for the wooden posts God puts in the ground for you. This valley dips down low and can get very dark so hold onto God's promises in His Word, the Bible.
What you can make out to be the path starts to ascend again and you reach the final climb. On our family hikes this part doesn't involve much conversation. We put all of our energy into each step because this is the steepest incline on the journey. The final push towards our dream or desire is the hardest but God will give you the strength. In fact He will reach out His arm and pull you to the top. The view at the peak of the mountain takes your breath away. It is far beyond what your mind ever thought of at the start of the climb. Then you turn back around. It is then and only then that you see the entire path you traveled to reach your destination. The reason why there was a turn in the path at that point was to avoid a sharp drop over the edge of that rock. The reason why there were some jagged rocks to climb over at that point in the path was to avoid the swamp. Things become clear when you see the whole route. The view when you reach your desire or dream will be far greater than you can ever imagine. Every part of the journey seems worth it now that you've reached the top.
Throughout the whole hike patience is required. Patience with the length of the journey. Patience with the rest of the family. Patience with yourself. Whatever stage of the journey you are at ask God for patience. If we try to rush along the path before God's timing we'll fall, become tired too quickly or get lost. Just be patient. God won't make you wait longer than you need to.
Maybe you're trying to make it up a mountain by yourself. Maybe you're trying to do it carrying the burden of sin. You can try to carry on but it's not going to get any easier. Those twists and turns you've encountered, that's God trying to get your attention. He wants to free you from sin - that's why He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross. He wants you to turn away from your sin and trust in Him. God's destination for you is perfect.
Trust in God and have patience with His plan.