We have been visiting and delivering produce to families for over two years now, and some of the families have been there since day one. We’ve seen extraordinary things. We’ve seen God bless our family as well as others. God has spoken through us to comfort and minister to those in need. Yet sometimes, because of my lack of vision and understanding, I don’t always see the good things God is doing. Recently, God showed it to me.
Oftentimes, I find myself praying for the same thing for some of our families. It strikes me as odd, since it doesn’t seem like things change much from week to week. Sometimes it’s the same prayer request or the same struggle or even the same thing to be grateful about. To a certain extent, there’s nothing wrong with that. But when you want to see change in their lives, or even in our own, doubt can come in. It can lead to going through the motions and missing opportunities to actively minister to those around you.
Yet recently, a family we’ve visited for a long time had a major change in their life. In the midst of it, I saw the one thing I had prayed for happen after praying for a long time: peace. As I talked to God, trying to grasp why things had happened the way they did, He spoke to me. He told me that they weren’t ready to change before they did. That in the two years that we’ve know them, they couldn’t bear to make that choice. Yet what I saw in that moment was different than before. I went from seeing that they were wasting their time to God being a merciful God.
Much like what we see with God’s patience for the Israelites, despite their constant disobedience, God certainly didn’t give up on them, and when they returned, He took them in with open arms. In Nehemiah 1:9 it says, “But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.”
God waited until they were ready, and when they made the choice, He helped them heal and gave them peace. They changed. And it was the best thing for them. What I couldn’t see is that He placed us in their lives to minister to them for over two years so that we could be there until they were ready. My God is a merciful, benevolent, and patient God who cares for His children, even when we can’t see how He’s doing it.
With that in mind, it changes how I view my daily work. When we pick vegetables, hoe weeds, pray for our families, and read our Bible, we aren’t always doing it for anything instantaneous or even something down the line, but there is God’s perfect plan. Regardless of when it comes, I will praise God and obey Him. In Habakkuk 2 it says, “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”
So how do I take this mindset on? Here’s what has helped me lately. Whenever I’m doing a task and find myself in a bad mood or complacent or whenever I’m tired or hot or hurting, I start to praise God. Not always out loud, since I’m sure my family is already tired of me humming or singing. But praising God, acknowledging that He has been faithful before and will be faithful now and forever, and remembering that He is merciful and patient helps me tremendously. It helps center me, to not focus on what the effects are going to be, but to trust in the one who gave peace when we prayed for it.
How do you center yourself with God? I’d love to hear. And of course, have a blessed day.
— Written by Joseph