“God tends to work more like an oven than a microwave .”
At times, we’ve all had to wait for a mouth-watering, juicy roast to come out of the oven. Cooking it in the microwave would be so much faster, but I’m not sure the taste would be as deep and flavorful. We know this cooking technique to be true with some food, but when it comes to His promises being fulfilled in our lives, we often want them to happen, like yesterday! We want microwave solutions—and answers! Many times the challenge is to not get discouraged and give up on our faith during the wait.
We may not love it, but most of us know the verse, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4).
I was just 14-years-old when I heard the Lord tell me that He wanted me to share His love with people in foreign nations. I thought about taking a ship to Africa, but my mother gave me some of her “wisdom.” Now, if I would have taken what I “heard” at that young age and acted upon it, I’m certain I would have failed. It was more than 20 years later when He sent me to the nations, but now I was equipped with His love and compassion.
How did I get prepared? It was actually “life” itself that “prepared” me while I was waiting. Just like in cooking, sometimes it’s the bitter taste that makes the sweet better. Cookies actually have salt in them to make them sweeter. The bitter things or sadness in my life is what added to create the sweet in His “recipe.” Those things like leaving Mexico to marry my American husband, my dad’s passing away and all the financial struggles we’ve experienced along the way. But some of the sweet things in life were marrying my best friend, Bill, the joyful birth of our son, Joey, and the fulfillment of my dream to attend Bible school.
Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, all of it was part of my “preparation.” Graciously, the Lord allowed me to stay in the “oven” a little while longer. Both the sorrows and the joy deepened my compassion and empathy, which gave Him a deeper well to draw from in ministry. I’ve learned that many times when we pray for things to happen, it takes a greater faith to trust our Lord, especially when we come to understand that the answer often depends on our ability to wait. Matthew 17:20 tells us that faith, the size of a mustard seed, can move mountains. However, when it’s our mountain that has to be moved, do we really believe a small seed of faith is enough?
If you were to take a trip to the mountains of California, you would see these magnificent trees that only started with a small seed, but now have such an extensive root system that they are visible even above the ground. When that seed is first planted, it’s small, and it only moves a little bit of dirt to burst through and become a seedling. But with water, sunshine and lots of time, the trees grow so large that their root systems are massive. This is a perfect example of how a seed, tempered with time, literally can move the ground. Tree roots can move homes off of their foundations, and if they get big enough, they can move the dirt with a powerful enough force to cause a shift in the Earth’s surface, sometimes large enough to cause earthquakes. Talk about moving a mountain!
These magnificent trees are a good mental image to keep in mind while we’re waiting on His promises to come to pass. When we patiently wait, things we can’t see move and shift beneath the surface. The key is to remember that with the unlimited power of God, we have the ability to speak to the mountains in our life and tell them to move! We also must keep the faith, and eventually, we will lack nothing!
by Miriam Sprague