All in Due Time

Trees only show fruit in the season they are meant to. You won’t see a tree growing apples in winter, even if you can find apples in the grocery store. When winter comes, trees will look barren or maybe even appear dead. But regardless of how they may appear, winter trees are still very much alive.

Psalm 1 gives us a picture of a person who follows in God’s ways. The psalmist writes, “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” (Psalm 1:3).

Like this tree, our spiritual growth goes through seasons. We often expect ourselves to produce fruit year-round, but this isn’t how nature works or how hearts are transformed. Both take time and patience through different seasons. Like children impatient with slow progress, we often try to measure our spirituality next to spiritual door frames like how much time we spend in prayer or how many consecutive days we’ve read our Bible. But our spiritual growth isn’t always something that we can see or measure.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Our lives include seasons of mourning and healing as well as seasons of laughing and celebrating. In these seasons of life we may not be able to see a joy-filled harvest. But we can experience spiritual growth, no matter the seasons of life we face. When the going gets tough and the storms rush in, being rooted in God and perseverant in faith allows us to emerge from a tough season of life stronger and ready for what’s to come.

We also have to realize that growth is not a standard measure of faith. Just like a child physically grows at a different pace than those around him, we all grow in our lives a little differently. Don’t look at Billy Graham’s faith and mark your life as unwise. Don’t compare your faith to that of Perry Noble and conclude that you aren’t faithful enough. After all, just because we serve the same God doesn’t mean we’re in the same season.

We do not need to be impatient or ashamed of gradual and steady progress toward becoming more like Christ. God has given us each season of life in His wisdom. Though you may be shaking in the cold and wintry season of struggle or silence, God’s wisdom is ready and His presence is strong. Just because your season of life is tough doesn’t mean God isn’t there (Hebrews 13:5).

In Philippians 1:6, Paul wrote, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” This statement is as true for us as it was for the Philippians. Just as God saved you and began working in your heart when you received salvation, He will be faithful to continue to transform you until Christ returns, no matter what season you are in.

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