The seeds are in the ground. Finally. Spring projects kept me from getting the garden ready as soon as I would have liked, but today was make or break. The rain is supposed to be here tonight and through the week. Digging into the soil the other day only turned up a powdery dust. We need the rain. We had just enough yesterday to moisten the soil to receive the seeds, and today I got them in. Now comes the waiting.
We Americans don't like to wait. Fast cars, fast food, fast profits, fast romances; if it's not microwaveable fast, we don't want it. But sometimes slow is better. Wine, cheese, wisdom, and love are best when aged. Try to speed it up and we lose the intricacies and nuances that give it worth. The sumac along the creek spring up and mature in just a few years, but its wood is soft and punky, hardly worth tossing even on a campfire. The oak that takes a generation to mature is beautiful when made into furniture, and heats the entire house when loaded into the stove on a cold winter's night.
"See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient." So counsels James (5:7-8). St. Paul reminds us that the fruit of the Spirit is...patience." Isaiah told us that those who wait on the Lord renew their strength (40:31), so I wait, but not lazily. We often think of waiting as the twiddling our thumbs kind of waiting in the doctor's office or impatiently waiting in line for a concert, but I think it's helpful to instead think of Patty, our cook and waitress at Lisciandro's where I have breakfast each Tuesday with my friend Willlie. Patty waits on us, but it is anything but laziness. She is constantly on the move, cooking breakfast, filling coffee cups, making sure the customers are satisfied. Waiting on the Lord is much like that; busily doing everything we can to make sure he is satisfied.
So I wait. I'll hoe and weed, thin the seedlings, pray for rain. And as I do, I'll wait patiently on the Lord, busy engaged in pleasing him in attitude, thought, word, and deed, thankful for lessons of the soil.