It just takes time
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. – Psalms 90:12
1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.
2 But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
6 For the LORD watches over the path of the godly . . ..
Trees differ significantly when it comes to their rate of growth. It varies from species to species but also depends upon the climate and the water available which often fluctuates from year to year. In tropical climates with warm weather and a plentiful supply of water, a tree can become fully grown in 30 years. A tree in cooler regions may take several hundred years to reach full growth and maturity.
Every year a tree increases in size by adding a layer of wood when the woody fiber is deposited between the bark and the trunk. These layers are referred to as growth rings. The age of a tree is determined by counting these growth rings.
Giant sequoias are some of the oldest and largest trees in the world. Many specimens have a verified age of over 2000 years and some of the oldest-known redwoods are over 3500 years old. An oak tree can live up to 1000 years. When forests are cut down, for whatever reason, it can take up to 100 years for them to grow back.
It seems that many children of the King have difficulty in realizing and facing up to the inexorable fact that the Father does not hurry in His development of our spiritual lives (Stanford). Spiritual formation cannot be rushed. Spiritual development is a lifelong process. The ongoing progression of growth is seen everywhere in nature. The finer, the more advanced the organism, the longer the process. The Father is working from and for eternity! It is totally in His hands. It is not our concern how much time is involved or how long the process takes.
“A student asked the President of his school whether he could not take a shorter course than the one prescribed. ‘Oh yes,’ replied the President, ‘but then it depends upon what you want to be. When God wants to make an oak, He takes a hundred years, but when He wants to make a squash, He takes six months’” (Dr. A. H. Strong).
Benjamin Disraeli was British prime minister in 1868 and 1874-80. “One day in the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Disraeli made a brilliant speech on the spur of the moment. That night a friend said to him, ‘I must tell you how much I enjoyed your extemporaneous talk. It’s been on my mind all day.’ ‘Madam,’ confessed Disraeli, ‘that extemporaneous talk has been on my mind for twenty years.’”
REFLECT & PRAY
“The conversion of a soul is the miracle of a moment, but the manufacture of a saint is the task of a lifetime” (Alan Redpath).
Father indeed life is brief. How I wish I could grow and develop a heart of wisdom that I may use the time I have in a way that has value in eternity. Please make it so.
Psalms 90:12 Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may get a heart of wisdom.
In Psalm 90, Moses prays for “a heart of wisdom.” He seeks the best of the best insight and discernment. Moses has reached the point where he is aware of his tremendous need for such knowledge and wisdom. What characterizes a wise heart? Where does the process of developing one begin?
A wise heart begins with the recognition of the brevity of life. Our life on planet Earth is finite. Our days are numbered. As we check them off, we are to come to terms with the reducing number we have left. This realization becomes the motivation for making the most of what remains. How can this be done? The psalmist prays for a heart of wisdom. He wants to grow in the Father’s wisdom. The fruit of the Father’s wisdom is skillful living.
In Psalm 1, the one who walks uprightly with the Father is likened to a luxurious tree planted by flowing water. In the proper location with abundant water and nourishment, trees do what they were made to do, grow and bear fruit in season.
Psalms 1:3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
Trees grow quietly. They take in water, nutrients, sunlight, and produce something entirely different than what they take in.
Spiritual formation is seasonal. We can learn much by looking at the rings of a tree. Some years were marked by great growth, others not so much. So it is with the Father’s children. During the slow times, growth is solidified and strengthened, often through testing and even severe drought.
“Growth is not a uniform thing in the tree or in the Christian. In some single months there is more growth than in all the year besides. During the rest of the year, however, there is solidification, without which the green timber would be useless. The period of rapid growth . . . occupies but four to six weeks in May, June and July” (Strong).
The Father’s methods involve time and a variety of techniques that are all necessary for spiritual development. “The Husbandman’s method for true spiritual growth involves pain as well as joy, suffering as well as happiness, failure as well as success, inactivity as well as service, death as well as life . . .” (Sanford).
“God loves to bless His obedient children. He moves out ahead of them, preparing the way, bringing them into a good and pleasant place. He doesn’t promise lack of trials, but He does promise eventual victory” (Stanley).
“It is God’s way to set people aside after their first start, that self-confidence may die down . . .. We must get to know ourselves and that we have no strength. Thus we must learn and then leaning on the Lord we can with more maturity, and more experientially, deal with souls” (John Darby).
The bottom line is that it just takes time. There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity.
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today” (Mother Theresa).