Impatience / by Michael Nichols

The prophet Isaiah spoke about those who "wait upon the Lord." Isaiah 40:31. Waiting...

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Waiting...

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Doesn't feel good, does it? Imagine how a farmer feels when he raises a crop. When my grandfather was still living, he tended these blackberry bushes. I don't know about you, but if the word "berry" comes up in conversation, my first reply is, "Where?" I love them. I really do. Straight off the bush. In smoothies. In yogurt. In pie. In cobbler. As wine. If it's a berry, me does want.

But when the season starts, my eager fanboy enthusiasm is tormented by the watching of the growth of the berries. They start as little flowers, but then the slightest resemblance of a fruit is evident. Tiny cells begin to show themselves. Tiny, pale-green cells on berries not ready to eat yet. Then they grow. Their size increases, and they turn red. Then finally, after weeks--heck, maybe a couple of months--they finally look like something. The deep, nearly-black-but-actually-violet hue, coupled with the obviously full size of the cells themselves, begin calling for you, letting you know that your patience has not been in vain, and that it's time to enjoy the [literal] fruits of your labor.

That was my childhood. Actually, it's also my now. Though my grandfather has moved from death here to life forever, we still tend his bushes, and though winter is coming and there are no more berries now, next season, should everything go right, there will be more. We'll prepare, prune, protect, and pluck for another harvest of berries. But yet again, we'll have to be patient.

It's almost instinctual to anticipate things that we know are headed our way, things that we know are good. Though it will be another year until I taste the freshness of blackberries fresh from the bush, it makes me hungry just to think about them. This, however, is not grounds to consider a person impatient.

But it is in the throwing of a tantrum, the loss of one's coherency, and the slinging of bitterness from the soul towards our surroundings that shows the world not only that we are incapable of waiting but incapable of controlling our empty hands, let alone whatever we may want to fill them with. The parable of the investor and his three accountants tells the tale well. He entrusted different accountants with different amounts while he was on his journey. Each one returned as much profit as was given him to invest... but the one who was given the least buried his wealth in the ground. He didn't even put it in the bank to gain interest. So his boss rewarded the other accountants, but the money that was entrusted to the unfaithful accountant was taken and given to the best investor. Oh, and the guy who buried the money, horded it rather than doing his job, was fired.

Impatience is the result of both not getting what you want when you want it and not knowing what to do with yourself until such a time approaches. The unfaithful accountant may not have had problems with patience, but he definitely had problems with trusting his boss. He didn't get the larger amount, which scared him because he might not get a return on such a small investment; and he didn't think about what to do with it in the mean time, if there was some other way to be successful with what was given to him. Similarly, by losing our minds when we don't get the things we want, aren't we baring our lack of faith in God, and our willingness to wait on his timing?

We may get what we want, and we may not ever. That part isn't really the point. Whatever it is that God has for us is worth the wait, but it's not just a matter of standing in front of the blackberry bushes until one day we notice that they're finally mature. No, God gave us much bigger lives with beauty not confined to a single item. Not even slightly.

Here's my story. I'm a musician. I fronted a band from 2009 until earlier this year. Nothing really ever came of it. We published an EP and played a few shows, but we never took off. That may seem like just something I tried once from the outside, but for me, this is more than a hobby, more than experience. Yes, I want it to be my career to sing, but it's more than that, still. It's my passion. It's my calling. I've always tried different things since I was very young that I thought I might want to do for the rest of my life, but nothing ever fit me like this. Nothing. Never.

I haven't really known why, but I know that all this time, God has been doing things in me to change my behavior, change my thoughts, overhaul my heart. I'm becoming more and more of a new creation, and I hope that it never stops. And all this time, He's given me opportunities to do things in the waiting for Him. I'm currently producing a 12-track record for a band called One Renown. I've done some interim music work with other bands, played solo several times at churches. Oh, and by day, I've been tutoring math at a community college.

No, God didn't plan for me to sit on my hands in the waiting. I don't know what form my performance will take in the end. I feel a call to resume full time solo work, and to do so very soon. I just don't know when, and I don't know what it's going to look like. All I know is I am where I am now, and I know God's taking me somewhere awesome. I've just got to tend to the rest of the garden while the blackberries grow. It's not time to worry. It's time to get back to work and let it go. Everything will be alright.

Whatever it is you're waiting for, it's okay to wait, and if you're waiting on Jesus for it, whether He takes you exactly where you want to go or not, wherever you go will be awesome, not because it will be what you thought it would be, but because He's taking you there.