Be patient brethren… The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it. “Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.” James 5:7 & Revelation 14:15 (Combined together)
One of my hobbies is to grow tomatoes every spring. Usually I have been very successful, especially when I lived in Arizona. But in Boise, Idaho, it has been a bit of a challenge due to the changing weather, I believe. Nevertheless, I planted some tomatoes plants here a couple of years ago, but it seemed to take forever for them to grow and ripen. After a couple of months of waiting I began checking them every day during the summer to see what was going on. Then at the end of the summer none of the plants were ready. As early fall began I decided I would just pick them anyway. Maybe they were ripe but just didn’t look like it on the outside. What a big mistake; they were not ripe at all. As I was getting ready to toss them away in frustration, a neighbor came by and suggested that I lay them in a box, and then put them in the darkest part of the house, perhaps a closet. I did, and then forgot about them. A few weeks afterward, when going to get a coat, there they were. I opened up the box and the tomatoes were all red on the outside, and quite ripe. They were great eating!
In a parallel way, this is somewhat like what it is like when we ask for certain things from God in our lives and yet they do not come about when we expect them to. What we ask for is good, but like un-ripened tomatoes our prayers just sit there with little or no change.
Like a gardener, we do everything possible with our requests before God; we prepare the soil of our lives with faith, we plant ourselves where we believe He wants us, we water ourselves with His Word, and finally weed out our sinful habits. Yet, still no answer from God, no ripened tomatoes in our asking so to speak. So, we panic and freak out, and decide to take things in our own hands; the waiting is over as far as we are concerned. However, in doing so, we have an answer to our prayers that is hardly ready, and very much un-ripened for eating as we discover. We know we’ve made a huge mistake, one that seems rather irreversible. As we get ready to toss away the prayer, God steps in and says, “Lay that prayer in a box, and let me ripen it without your help. Meanwhile go and do something else.” So we do, until one day we discover, almost by surprise, that all of our prayer has ripened and been answered. We rejoice and praise God for answering that prayer according to His will, timing, and wisdom. It all makes sense now! It usually does when we let Him ripen what needs to be ripened.
Other Scriptures on waiting for things to ripen
Psalms 27:14 – Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Psalms 37:7-9 – Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass
Isaiah 40:31 – But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.