On God's Schedule
I know you've seen it on TV. Some guy is clutching his chest, grimacing his face in agony just moments from demise and they manage to get their pill bottle out of their pocket and pop a pill, and before it has time to hit their stomach, all is better. Instant relief, and rescue from certain death in the blink of an eye almost. I suppose, psychologically, there might be something to that, but physiologically, not so much. But it sure would be nice if an aspirin knocked out a headache in less than 5 seconds.
We know from experience that medicine we administer by swallowing takes time to pass through our stomach and into our intestines to be absorbed into our bloodstream so that it can be carried to the body parts in distress. It's a process, and that process just takes time.
Sometimes when we are trying to teach someone the Gospel, we would like to see it go straight to their heart, and get instant results. It's pretty seldom that people respond so quickly though unless they were already looking for the change Jesus offers. Often times, we are disappointed that the person we are working with doesn't seem to be responding to the teaching. Perhaps they are resistant in some way, just as medicines that might treat one person's illness might not help another person with the same problem.
No two people are the same, and we need to understand people learn and respond in different ways and at different speeds. Some crawl, some walk, some jog and some run when they begin to turn toward Jesus. Teaching the Gospel requires patience, while God grows the message in that person's heart.
Paul says, "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow." 1 Cor 3:6. The Apostle Peter reminds us, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9
Let us learn to be patient, while God is working, remembering that things do not grow in the twinkling of an eye. We must not become discouraged if we don't see instant results. Our job is to keep watering. Let us not forget the parable of the sower in Luke 8. Sometimes we see results that are rapid and great. Others may start off great but fade away. Some start off slow, but gain momentum and grow into a beautiful plant. And, as we all know, some just never produce anything regardless of how badly they need growth or what we try to give them.
Each person we share the Gospel with has a starting place in their heart, and not everyone starts at the same place. Some may be Bereans while others are Thessalonicans, and yet others Grecians. (Acts 17:11-17). As we meet people where they are and show them the Love of Christ and teach them the good news of the Kingdom of God, may God bless us with knowledge, wisdom, courage, and patience while He 'makes them grow'.