A friend of mine recently attended Donald Miller’s Storyline Conference. Knowing that I am a fan, she surprised me with his Your Story Series – six talks packaged in one box. I listened to the first CD today: Your Story and Your Culture: How Commercialism is Affecting Your Mind and Your Faith. Now I can’t tell you everything. You’ll have to listen to it yourself or check out the conference, but this is the passage that stuck with me: “He is like a tree planted by streams of water…” (Psalm 1:3). Miller points out that this is what a mature, fruit-bearing Christian looks like. Being mature in faith takes time. A lot of time. It is a slow process. A tree doesn’t grow overnight, neither do mature Christians.
About seven years ago this time I started working for the ministry I am working for now. I hadn’t a clue what I had gotten myself into. I was just excited. Excited to have a job. Excited that I could write and edit. Excited at what was to come. I had come back from my DTS wide-eyed and full of wonder. God had quickly answered my prayer for a job so I thought everything else would be like that — I would ask God for something and He would answer. Looking back I guess deep inside I thought He was a quick-fix kind of god. I imagined doors swinging open and opportunities falling on my lap. Everything would be joyful. Everything would be exciting. Everything would be new. They weren’t. I thought that God’s voice would be clear. I often found myself crying out to Him and wondering why I couldn’t hear anything.
The Christian walk is long and hard (I feel like I have to read Paul Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress again. Totally did not appreciate it in high school…or college.) but it is rewarding. We need to go through it all — the ups and downs, the joys and the pains, the situations that make perfect sense and the ones that don’t.
God is not a quick-fix kind of god. God is steadfast and faithful. He is patient, loving, merciful, and compassionate. Those are all non-quick characteristics. Steadfast and faithful mean that you are trekking along in one direction. You are not quick to walk a different path. Patient means that you are slow to being annoyed or irritated. Loving means you are slow to hate. Merciful means that you are slow to judge. Compassionate means that you are slow to ignore. What I mean by that is not that God can’t be quick. Of course He can. He’s not a sluggish God, no. Can He perform miracles? Yes. But more important than fixing my problems or fulfilling my desires in an instant, He is calling me to live a life that takes root in Him and bears fruit for His glory.