Timetables and Trials

It can be so frustrating when things don’t move, or go according to our plans and timetables. Perhaps it’s a project at work, a group of employees, a deadline, a goal, or even a dream. No matter what it is, if we planned, prepared, and executed to precision, we expect positive results – but what if they don’t come? What then?

Finish Lines: I dot know about you, but I love checklists and finish lines. I like to know something has been completed and to have it checked off. However, there are some things in life that just don’t seem to have a finish line, and these things can be so frustrating because I’ve never “arrived” – I’m never done. But there are somethings that aren’t supposed to be checked off – perhaps because there’s something more to be gained than meets the eye. This is when we must trust God and lean not on our own understanding, but seek what He desires us to learn and gain from the continuation.

Frustration: Frustration builds when we don’t seem to get the results we want and when we want them. I asked a pastor once if he ever got frustrated and how he dealt with it. He said he can get nervous before his sermon and frustrated afterwards if there’s little response from the congregation. This can happen to us all. Perhaps we feel insecure, perhaps we have too high of expectations on the results – and ourselves? This is when, like the pastor continued, we just need to “trust the consequences to God”. We simply go in faith, give our best, and leave it at the alter for God to work the outcome. Not easy, but a good reminder.

Fatigue: Working without seeing the outcome we desire and at the time we expect can cause us great fatigue. We can begin questioning our value and impact. There may be tweaks to be made, but ultimately we sometimes just run out of steam. This is when one of God’s greatest promises can come to our rescue – “and let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up”.

Application: “Fruit Bearing” – John 15:4

Much of our trials with timetables comes from the fact we are trying to produce the fruit, but this of course is not possible. A farmer cannot make the fruit blossom – that is the job of nature, but they steward the land and water the seed. Likewise, we are to be good stewards, give our best work, and trust God to bring the size of the harvest at His timetable – not ours. Emerson describes it this way, “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience”.

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