Waiting for the Ripeness

"And He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ."
Ephesians 1:9-10 (New International Version)

One of the best things about growing up in Congo was having fresh fruit. I mean, just-picked-off-the-tree fresh fruit. We had two huge mango trees in our back yard that would each yield hundreds of mangoes in season. Imagine how painful it is for me to pay a dollar or more a piece for a mango here in the United States when all I used to have to do was pick the fruit off the ground. We also had pineapple bushes and banana trees.

Pineapples take a long time to mature-years, in fact-before the fruit is ready to eat. The first year that we were able to finally pick the fruit, the pineapple was pitifully small-so small it could easily fit in the palm of my hand. I remember being so frustrated with what was actually edible after the outer skin was cut away. The juicy, sweetness that I had imagined being able to pop in my mouth after all that long wait was just that--a figment of my imagination. What I tasted was fibrous and dry and not very nice-tasting at all. What a waste!

But the very next year, that same plant produced a gorgeous specimen of what I had only dreamed about the year before. This pineapple was sweet and wonderful. Its juiciness ran down my chin. It was the best I had ever tasted.

What are we waiting for to get ripe in our lives, girlfriends? Maybe you are single and are longing to be married. Perhaps you thought Mr. Right had come along. In fact, you invested your heart and soul into your relationship only to come to the crushing realization that he was not the one. Maybe you are longing to be a mother. You had your hopes set on this being the month that you would get confirmation that a little life was growing inside of your womb. But now you are in tears again over the disappointment of having to wait only God knows how long to become a mommy. And in the back of your mind is the terrible, consuming fear that maybe the dream will never come true.

Why does God have us wait? Now if I could answer that question, I would be more intelligent than the most brilliant theologians that have ever lived. I do not pretend to know the mind of God. He is unsearchable in His wisdom. But I do know that He is the ultimate Multi-tasker. I do know that He is bringing to fruition all the parts necessary to give Himself the greatest glory when He does answer our prayers. Waiting is the hardest work we will ever have to do, my beloved sisters. What we are made of comes out when we do not get what we want, when our hopes seem dashed into a million pieces, and when have to make the choice to praise Him. If we are bitter, the wait will reveal that. And if we are operating with faith, faith will come to life during the time we must be still before Him.

What gives me the most comfort is that in my Jesus there is no darkness at all. He does not have an agenda to hurt me or to withhold any thing that is good from me. It's just that what I think is good for me might taste like that pineapple that was not quite ready to be eaten. If He has said no to something that I desperately want, I must believe-especially when I don't feel like believing-that He knows what is best. Somehow the dream fulfilled the way I wanted it to be fulfilled would have been second or even third best for me.

And when the time is ripe and everything is in place, the sweetness of God's wisdom will be revealed. And the wait will have been worth it all.

Jesus, thank You for Your perfect timing, even when I think You are being too slow to answer. Give me eyes of faith to wait for Your perfect plan for me, even when it seems that the wait will crush the life right out of me. Every good and perfect gift comes from my heavenly Father who does not change like shifting shadows. Thank You for that comfort in the wait.