I have a clear memory of a childhood pot garden. I remember putting soil in plastic cups, placing one seed in each cup, watering the seeds and placing them in our school window. Waiting for the sprouts to appear seemed to take forever.
I was impatient and very curious about what the seeds were doing. I watered every day, looking for any tiny sign of a sprout. There was nothing! Just a cup full of dirt, lightly watered, sitting there!
I began to have serious doubts, in spite of the fact that my teacher was so upbeat, so sure we would see sprouts, so convinced that we would all have little seedlings by spring.
I think she did not properly prepare us for the wait. At the time when I expected to see strong, little green seedlings, I saw nothing. And I was discouraged, to say the least.
Habakkuk 2:3 speaks of waiting with these words: “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Faith requires patience in all things. It often requires waiting for that which we long for to come to pass. It requires knowing what we have planted in faith, and believing that it will eventually grow.
I know that one of the most trying prayers for me has been prayers for my child. In faith, hope and expectation, I have prayed without ceasing that he would transition into a successful, happy adult. I prayed the same prayer for years. For years, I saw no sign of new growth. I have never given up.
So I waited and waited for these sprouts. One day, I reached my limit and dug my finger into the soil to find one of the seeds. I found one, and then I quickly stuck the seed back in the dirt before the teacher could see me. I pushed it down under the dirt much deeper than it was planted before.
Days passed, and eventually spouts appeared in every cup. The one I dug up took the longest and was the smallest of them all.
The lessons from this story?
Faith requires patience.
What you plant will grow in its own time.
Leave things alone.
And in the words of Elisabeth Elliot, “Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.”