Why God’s way takes longer

palm-tree.jpg

 

It is kind of like becoming a tree

I was staring at a tree the other day just day-dreaming and kind of worrying about how long it was taking to get answers to prayer for a few issues in my life. I was reminded of…

Psalm 1:1-3

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.

In my case I have been diligently trying not to “walk in the counsel of the wicked,” and it seems to be making my answers to prayer take even longer. I have been earnestly trying to do things the right way, knowing full well that by cutting a few corners or compromising my values I could make the answers appear faster. The major difference being that I can get mediocre answers doing it my way or the fruit God promises by doing it His way.

The pre-requisite for our fruit bearing from Psalm 1 is that we:

  1. Do things God’s way
  2. Stay in the Word

If we do these two things we have the promise that whatever we do will prosper and that we WILL bear fruit IN OUR SEASON.

Trees grow slowly

As I was staring at this tree I began to realize that trees grow slowly. You plant a seed for a tree and it takes a while to sprout and takes a while to grow to a decent size.

Grass and even plants, on the other hand, grow a lot faster. They sprout up quickly and sometimes you can even notice growth one day to the next. I have been enjoying watching this rapid growth with all of the plants in my vegetable garden.

Grass grows fast

Then it kind of hit me that God wants to make me “like a tree.” He isn’t interested in seeing rapid growth that will not make it to the next season and is ultimately unsustainable. A tree, though it grows slowly, becomes a lot more sturdy and is able to withstand challenges that grass and plants can’t.

I am reminded of a storm we recently had that snapped my tomato plant right in half. The plant had grown to about 2.5 feet in a matter of months and was not strong enough to survive when the winds came. God wants to make us strong and sturdy to withstand the storms in our lives.

Psalm 92:7

“That when the wicked sprouted up like grass and all who did iniquity flourished, it was only that they might be destroyed forevermore.”

Psalm 92:12

“The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, he will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”

Trees yield more fruit

I am excited about the tomatoes that my plants will produce this summer, but even the best tomato plant would be lucky to produce 40 lbs of tomatoes in a season. But mature apple trees can produce over 1000 lbs in a season.

The downside, of course, is that trees don’t bear fruit 3 months after you plant them like many vegetable plants will. Some trees will take a few years or even longer to bear fruit. I remember the frustration I had with this when I wanted apples from a new tree and learned that I may have to wait a while.

Patience seems to be a rare virtue in our society these days, but it is one that we ought to develop. God seems to like taking the long road with a lot of things and as I begin to see the reason behind it, it causes me to say, “huh, God really is smarter than I am.” ;)

Trying to be a tree

It’s tough watching the grass sprout up all around you and seeing others bearing fruit when you have been faithfully doing what is right, but we must not be short-sighted. We need to try to look at these things the way God sees them.

Though the tomato plants around us may be popping out some fruit, while we seem to wonder what is taking so long, our day will come. God is doing a work and creating something in us that will be around long after the grass has come and gone.

Galatians 6:9 (AMP)

“And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.”

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42 Comments
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  1. This is one of your best posts yet. I feel very encouraged to keep doing what I’m doing.

    When I was a piano student in college, I learned how to practice – really practice – for four hours a day. I learned the rhythm of it, the joy of it, spending hours and hours keeping my posture, concentrating on the making the smallest movement of a finger correct, concentrating on bringing out the subtleties of the music. Minute by minute, I was learning to play some of the greatest music ever written.

    Christian life is like that. Even when you’re working toward something very big and believing God to change the world, the way to that is by living daily life with excellence – daily hours and daily minutes with excellence. While concentrating on keeping our hearts right and living with wisdom and excellence, God is teaching us to live the life needed to receive his promises.

    • Shelley m freeman

      produce Thank you so very for your articles they encourage me along with my son who is 13yrs old. I have been walking with the Lord for 7yrs and working in the restaurant industry which to say the least is very ghetto and I hate it with a pure passion and for the pass 7yrs I’ve been trying to run from it but for all those years I’ve always quit walked out and always found myself right in some other restaurant job being miserable all over again. After reading your articulate I know believe God is trying to teach me and train me up for my future blessing. Thank you again and God Bless you and your family always.

  2. @Cory
    thanks for the encouragement, it is something that God has been showing me lately so I am glad that it helped you as well!!

  3. This is a great post. Recently I was listening to an old sermon from my pastor and he mentioned that his pulpit was made from a harder kind of wood, not a soft wood. But it is made durable and tough by being in a more intense climate – strong winds, ice and snow, etc. But that climate turns it into something useable and valuable.

    I think it is an interesting parallel. We go through challenges and hate every minute of it, but God is crafting us into something that has purpose. It’s encouraging that God made things in nature, which we can understand, to reflect things in our spirits, which is more difficult to understand sometimes. I love that He reveals Himself to us in that way.

  4. @rose
    that is a good parallel, I think that could turn into another article… And I completely agree about His design of nature – there is so much for us to learn from His creations all around us – His glory shows up in EVERYTHING that He does…

  5. Fantastic post.

    So very true. Thank you for writing and reminding me of this. I’m so glad we have a loving God who patiently tries to grow us into something good.

  6. @Robin
    thanks! He really is concerned about doing a work in us!!

  7. Great post. Thanks for the encouraging words. I love the analogy of the tree versus grass. I’m reminded of the old proverb: “When is the best time to plant a tree? – 20 years ago.”

  8. julius cagulangan

    GOD IS REALLY IN THIS WRITING ENCOURAGING HIS PEOPLE TO WAIT ON HIM TRUSTINGLY AND TO BE EXCITED HIS MOLDING PROCESS IN OUR LIVES.

  9. And Boy, do we get in the way so many times. I struggled for about two years trying to find a new job and a new place to live. I didn’t understand why God wouldn’t let me escape. But it was because it was me who needed to change. It turns out I needed to be just where I am. Once I realized that, things became a whole lot easier.

  10. I don’t know when this was posted, however I believe that the Holy Spirit guided me to this website today. However I give God praise because after being encouraged by the word and this article I would not mind being a tree in God’s kingdom. God will allow us to produce fruit in it’s season and it will be ripe I don’t want to eat anything that’s npt produce it it’s right season because I may not get the proper nourishments I need. God truly knows best.

  11. @Jenn
    very cool! I am it helped you!

  12. That’s some good reading … thanks for re-posting it. I’m home sick from church this morning (a true rarity) so this was nice to come across. It’s got points and everything … like a sermon – I’m a pastor’s daughter so these things stick out to me. Sorry for the rambling comment. I just wanted to say thanks :)

  13. This is so true. Thanks for the post and keeping reminded by God’s grace.

  14. Hi Bob,

    You said it very well. I am proud of you in the name of the Lord. It’s great to see a person being a good sheperd guiding people to the right direction in terms of finance.

  15. Thanks so much for this great article! God reveals his plan in his time. I just wanted you to know that he’s using you to encourage and remind others. Again, thanks for the great post and the great blog!

  16. Jackie L.

    Thank you for this post I am waiting on God and i needed this message thanks.

  17. Hi Bob,
    I do not know what to say again, it is just to say HALLELUIA!!! Because this is not to teach people how to make money but to win people’s souls. Keep doing this you will be rewarded richly.

  18. Great insight Bob….wished I read this post sooner. I might add that Christ compared both faith and the Kingdom to a mustard seed – both need to be nurtured consistently to grow. Meditation on the Word of God, as you pointed out, is a key to both. “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Rom 10:17

  19. hey, I’ve waiting on God to do somethings for me. Thank you and glory be to God. I will share this article with my christian friends because you have encouraged me to not give up this journey. :)

  20. Thank you for this and God bless you!

  21. thank you vry much the illustration using the tree has taugt me a lesson

  22. Thanks for this powerful reminder, which is applicable to much more than finance. As a woman in my mid 30s, I get asked at least once a week why I’m not married and don’t have children yet. God’s timing is perfect, whether or not the world thinks I moving too slowly. So, I will continually strive to patiently wait on and faithfully trust in God in all areas of my life. God bless!

  23. Michelle

    I really really really want to be a tree!! Very encouraging! Thank you!!!

  24. SCOTT MANS

    VERY GOOD WRITING…I TO KNOW THIS,,,,THE PALM TREE BENDS DURING THE STORMS AND DOES NOT BREAK….AFTER THE STORM PASSES AND STAND UPRIGHT! GREAT SITE AND THANK YOU

    GOD BLESS

  25. Thanks! I am getting so much from your blog. I know you wrote this a while ago but it still is so applicable. I love how you looked at an actual tree – -how it takes time to grow. I enjoy reading the Bible this way too. There is so much there. THis is also an encouragement to me. Trying to bring income in through my blog. I have! Not much but more each month so far.

  26. Thanks! Wow, very powerful article. Really helped me in seeing that God is making me into a strong tree. It does get hard though, trusting in Christ every day and you don’t see much fruit. But like the Word says, I’d rather be a tree taking it’s time to grow strong and sturdy than be grass/plants that grow and die away quickly. I’m not looking for a “quick fix”, I want God’s purpose to be fulfilled in my life.

  27. Michelle Sinclair

    Thank you for this. It touched my heart.

    You are truly doing the work of God. May he richly bless you, making you prosperous in every single area of your life.

    Michelle

  28. Thanks for this post! Yes, patience seems to be a rare virtue, yet it is such as a needed virtue for any long-term growth to occur.

  29. Perfect timing! Just when I need something the most, God provides.. Thank you!

  30. Thanks for reposting, I needed to hear this. I have been wondering why some of my prayers haven’t been answered and now I understand. God is so good!

  31. Madilyn Cristobal

    Thank you very much for this great post. May God bless more!

  32. Lillian

    Thanks Bob… I am greatly encouraged today by these words. As a
    Family, we are experiencing some challenges and it’s like everything
    Isn’t working. My husband came home last night asking ‘when will that
    Breakthrough come?’ It’s been really stressful, but we still hold on to
    God in all of this..
    Thank you so much for this, God bless you Bob.

  33. kenneth kioko

    Oh my God i have really been humbled & encouraged
    by this article.Its better for me to be patient and walk with God
    no matter how long it may take. Thankyou & be
    blssed

  34. Thanks Bob for this inspiring post. It is a gentle reminder to me and gives me gr8 hope.
    Blessings to you and your loved ones !!!

  35. Thank you. I needed to read this. :)

  36. Thanks Bob,

    It’s inspiring to me to hear from you and others that sometimes God’s work in our lives doesn’t always happen overnight and that patience and faith are the keys to live by. I’ve have been so inspired from the two studies I have done with you that I really feel I’m on the right path re: money, tithing and being a good steward of God’s money. Two month’s ago, I started tithing even though I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to pay all my bills. I believe now that this is the right thing to do and that God will provide for me and my sons through our faith in Him. I’ve even become a cheerful giver not worrying and fretting over what I don’t have but overjoyed that I’m able to help others! God is good and thank you for your ministry!

  37. I can see I am a few years behind most posts to these lessons, but I’m getting it now.
    Speaking of plants, I prefer the perennials to the annuals. I pay more for them, but they come back each year fuller than the previous year. They produce long-lasting enjoyment season-to-season; I continually expect a bountiful blessing.
    Thanks.

  38. Thanks Bob, I needed this. God’s knows exactly what we need and when we need it.

  39. That’s a really cool analogy, Bob :)

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