We hosted a St. Patrick’s Day party at our house recently. It turned out to be a great night and everyone had a blast, but it started out a little slow. Mostly family showed up first and we all just sort of stood around. Then I had to run out for another bag of ice to get the coolers properly filled. Meanwhile one guest had to drop out at the last minute. Right about then I was questioning whether the party was such a great idea.
Sometimes, when God calls us to start doing something, things don’t always fire up right away either. We jump into His new mission for us with gusto at first, ready to change the world. Within a short time, a funny thing usually happens. Namely, not much. The world seems to go on more or less as it did before we embarked on our high and mighty divinely inspired calling. Contrary to what we expected, we don’t find ourselves at the forefront of some great movement of the Spirit. The sound of the crickets chirping seems to be the loudest voice we hear. At that point, the easy thing to do is to give up, thinking it must all have been a big mistake. But that’s the biggest mistake.
Rarely, at least in my walk with the Lord, does He move at a pace that we humans would call “quick.” To embark on a new adventure with God is to commit to a turtle-slow, steady, often times patience-testing process. Results are invisible, imperceptible, and we often start to think, impossible. Why would God work with us in this way? To torture us? Hardly. He loves us more than we can ever possibly know. The truth is, God isn’t messing with us when He gives us a calling and nothing seems to happen after we answer it. The truth is, unlike us, who are concerned with results, God is concerned with effort. Obedience is what He’s looking for. He is ready and willing to open the floodgates of results, but only after He’s sure that we’re really in for the long haul. The only way we can show Him that we are is to press on, even as nothing seems to happen.
If we press on in faith, believing that God will eventually bless our efforts, we can be assured that He will. That doesn’t guarantee us that we’ll always know when, or how. The most agonizing truth of it all is that the impact of our calling may not even be realized in our lifetime. Or if it is, it may only be somewhere so far removed from our scope of life as to render it unrecognizable as the fruits of our labor for Christ. As long as we continue to obey and press on, we need not worry about whether we see any tangible results. When we labor for Jesus, we labor not in vain. The joy of our work well done won’t elude us forever, but we might not find it until Kingdom Come. While that’s longer than we want, if that’s what it takes to build our faith into what the Lord wants it to be, it’s never longer than we need.