“Slow-moving and unexciting.” That is how we define “plodding.” And this is exactly what I want to suggest to you that life is like most of the time.
I want it differently. I want immediate results. I want to have thirty years of experience and expertise yesterday. I want engaged, exciting and expanding events to occur every day. I want a lottery worth of cash right now without labor and skill. I imagine I am not alone in this.
In fact our culture is all about quick fixes, immediate results. The weight loss pill that gives you a slim waistline if it doesn’t make you heart burst. The two-minute date that will give you a full understanding of you potential mate. Get-rich-quick fixes over years of work.
Really we just want to “arrive.” We want the things we think will give us comfort, confidence and credibility so we can arrive in the place we dream of. I know as a leader in a church I can become obsessed with results and growth overnight. But rapid arrival may not be what we were meant for. Instead, it is usually the patient plodding of life that God uses to refine us and build us according to design.
Years of planning, care and teaching are used to build the church. Hours of practice and play are used to highlight the gifts of the musician. Repeated guidance and unconditional love are used to make the child into an adult ready to share love with another. And it is the plodding moments piled on top of each other that make a difference.
So what do we do in the midst of our right-now culture with the ideal of patient plodding, taking step after step in the right direction? We recognize it. We embrace the reality that most of the great things in life take time. We remind ourselves of the long obedience in the same direction and take comfort in the future outcome. And we don’t only look to the future for hope, we learn to see the exciting things of plodding. The commitment we make to others and they make to us. The refining that is happening along the way and the adventure that is sailed to our destined shore. Looking around as we take the thousand steps up the hill of life.
Here is to patient plodding! Trusting the God who controls all things to use our sweat and time for his glory and our good… over time.