A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford
Years ago my husband and I were walking through the Ford Museum in Dearborn when he stopped me by a huge Farmall F-20 tractor. “There,” Walt said, “that’s the tractor I bought last week. They’ll deliver it next week.”
You understand, Walt was delighted to be serving God in a church. It was what he’d given his life to. But he also had a wide swathe of farmer in his city-bred heart. We owned a half-acre of land next to our home, and he thought he’d raise a big garden on it. The only problem was that this huge tractor that he’d bought had such a wide turning radius, he couldn’t even circle once in that cramped ½ acre. Nothing daunted, he rented a field down the road from our home. He plowed it and planted corn on it. The very next morning, he got up early and dug up some of the kernels of corn to see if the corn had sprouted yet!
But a farmer does has to wait. Walt knew, from the instructions on the package of seed corn, exactly how many days it would take for the corn to ripen at our latitude. There’s a time for sowing and a time for reaping, a time of waiting scheduled by God Himself.
Mark 4:26-29 tells about the experience of one farmer: “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” The farmer didn’t know how it all worked, but he knew when the harvest was ready.
In the same way, we human beings often expect God to act immediately. If He doesn’t, we accuse Him of breaking His promise. A mother recently told me she was disappointed with God. Her son was not living for God as they had taught him. “ I pray, but nothing happens. Why doesn’t God do something?” But how could she know what God was doing inside that young man’s heart?
Psalm 119:68 says,
“God, You are good and do only good.”
God cannot, and will not, do anything to hurt His children. If we can’t see Him acting in our behalf, that’s no indication of what He is doing underneath.
A businessman commits himself to a venture that should prosper, but in spite of his prayers and wise decisions, nothing seems to develop. Why not? Perhaps because the seed has not had time to germinate.
A woman volunteers to teach a Bible study. She works and prays diligently as she prepares the lessons. But she doesn’t see much impact. Might it be God is working in the hearts of the women, but not in ways she can see?
A student might spend hours researching for a paper that his professor isn’t impressed with. But might it be God is teaching him some profound truths that will shape the rest of his life?
God has made everything beautiful in His time.
Also He has put eternity in their hearts,
Except that no one can find out the work
that God does from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
Our humanity may keep us from understanding all that God is doing for us. We may not be able to see how He is working in the hearts of others. But we can be sure of this: God will make everything turn out for our good, exactly when we need it. And He will do it in His perfect time.