A posture of patient faith

Instant gratification. It’s something our culture has grown to expect, even demand. The world is at our fingertips and immediate results, when not achieved, often leave us frustrated and defeated.  

In the lives of Abraham, King David, Joseph and countless others, we see this counter-cultural concept of seed, time, then harvest. In their stories, we find an aging father of one child, a lowly shepherd and a beloved brother sold into slavery. We often read these from the perspective of cause and effect, as if when Abraham obeyed God, his descendants immediately became as numerous as the sand on the shore and stars in the sky. As if when Joseph was sold into slavery, he was suddenly given the position of influence alongside King Pharaoh. However, we often forget about the time in between the seed and the harvest. The times when Abraham, and others all throughout the bible, teetered back and forth in trust and distrust of what God had said. Will God provide, will He work it for good, will He do what He said He would? Nevertheless, they persevered against the desire for immediate, tangible evidence of seeds sown, thus creating a posture of patient faith. A patient faith that shepherds eternal value over an instantaneous, fleeting gratification. 

Raising children is anything but instant. In fact, it requires just the opposite. In parenting, the reward is often found in, and at the end of, long, recurring days, months and years. It requires consistent dedication to living to a standard our children can strive toward. It requires showing them how to repent, dust off and follow the Savior. The training we provide to our children is a daily investment, as God often does not rush the harvest nor work in the ways we might think best.

We recently hosted the Big Oak Family Reunion with about 600 people gathering at the Girls’ Ranch to celebrate what God has done through our family. We reminisced and laughed until it hurt. We remembered the long, hard days of carrying one another’s’ burdens. We talked openly about the countless moments of discipline and hard conversations that weren’t pleasant for anyone. But mostly, we saw the fruit of it all. We saw family return home to one another. We saw former residents not only embracing the teaching they received at Big Oak but leading their own children in that way. We saw the children and grandchildren of our former residents enjoying a childhood rich with love, discipline and persevering parents. We saw hundreds of people transformed by Jesus.   

When the enemy does his most cunning work in our lives as parents, when he tires us with meaningless battles that distract us from the war for our children, may we remember that the daily investment is worth it. Let’s find joy in helping our children lift the weight they carry. Let’s remain obedient to consistently discipline and guide them toward truth. Let’s allow the Word of God to define how we live and the example we provide for our children.  

The fruit might not be instant and the harvest might not be in our preference of timing. But when we do see it, as the things unseen become seen, our patient faith and persevering work will have been worth it.