“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
– Galatians 6:9
Have you ever grown weary in doing good? You’ve planted in faith. You’ve watered the soil of that faith in tear-soaked prayers – and you’ve waited. And waited. And prayed. And fasted. And prayed some more. And waited. And waited. And still nothing. Years pass, and yet you’re still waiting with empy hands and a poured-out heart. It seems like that hope, that dream, that vision, may never come to fruition. It seems like time is running out. It seems like life is passing you by, and you’re just running in place. It feels like you’re fighting a losing battle. It feels like you’ve been looked over, forgotten, and left alone in the wilderness. It’s spiritually draining, and emotionally exausting. But the Apostle Paul says, “Let us not get tired of doing what is good.”
This word “good” or “kalos” in the original Greek language means “beautiful… eminent… useful… excellent in its nature and characteristics, and therefore well adapted to its ends… beautiful by reason of purity of heart and life, and hence praiseworthy… affecting the mind agreeably, comforting and confirming” (Thayer’s Definition). The good thing is the necessary thing. The good thing, that may not feel so good in the present moment, is affecting your future in ways you can’t see or understand yet. The good thing is going to make the difference. Your situation may not be changed, but your mind is being changed. You’re being prepared and positioned. So don’t grow weary, because the good thing is needed; the good thing is beautiful, and your beautiful harvest is coming… in time.
The word “time” that Paul uses in this verse is the Greek word “kairos” which means “a time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action: the opportune and decisive moment” (Mirriam-Webster Definition). Some translations say “in due time” which means “pertaining to one’s self” or “belonging to one’s self” (Thayer’s Definition). We are all created by God. We all have unique callings, and positions, and purposes within the Kingdom of God. Someone else’s due time may have been five years ago, but your due time may be five months from now. It’s your time. It’s your story. It belongs to you. And your time is coming. Maybe God is still writing it. Maybe there are missing pieces yet to be filled, character arcs yet to be developed, or settings yet to be discovered. Whatever the case may be, you can rest assured that you are not forgotten. You’re just in process. A true artist will not release an incomplete piece of art. A true author will not publish an unfinished book. Our God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Asking him to release the answer to our prayers before the time has come, is asking Him to do what is not in His nature to do.
As I was reflecting on these thoughts this past week, I thought of the gardners and the farmers who plant their crops and wait patiently for the harvest. I thought about what might happen if the plant started to sprout before the right time. The fragile plant, not prepared for the bitter coldness of a lingering winter would likely wither and die shortly after breaking through the soil. And the hardwork of the farmer would be in vain, because the harvest that could have been would never fully come to be. So in order to avoid this heartache, the farmer may wait later in the season to plant the seed, and may dig deeper in the ground to place the seed. And the seed, unaware of the farmer’s true intention and purpose, may grow weary of the seemingly endless darkness. But, in due time, the harvest will come. And the season when the seed sprouts will be the season necessary, not only for it’s survival, but also for it’s growth and bounty.
Sometimes what we interpret as God saying “no” is actually God saying “not yet” – We have to trust God is a good Father who always has our best interests at heart and withholds no good thing from us. I recently heard it said that at the root of all our sin is the suspicion that God is not good. We grow weary and frustrated and feel like our prayers aren’t being heard, so we turn way and look to other sources for fulfillment. But God, in all His love and mercy and goodness, is just saying “The time is not right, the time has not yet come.”
Time is good. In the beginning, the first thing God created was the light. He seperated the light from the darkness. He called the light day, and the darkness He called night. The first thing He created was the way we track and measure time. And He said it was good.
I once heard Beth Moore teach a message on this subject, and she made the point that time does not pass like a timer counting down to a defining moment, but more like a stopwatch leading up to that defining moment. She made the point that we are not losing time, because scripture never talks about time going away, but rather always references the time to come (Luke 2:6, Galatians 4:4, John 7:8).
In this message, she also made the point that Satan is fully aware of this time yet to come, and the closer it gets, the angrier he becomes. So that battle you’re fighting, that uphill mountain your climbing, that resistance you feel – it’s because the enemy knows your victory is within reach.
One of my favorite verses in reference to time is Proverbs 31:25. There are several different translations, and I love them all equally. The King James Version says, “Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” The New American Standard Bible says, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.” The New Living Translation says, “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”
She rejoices. She smiles. She laughs.
Without fear of the future.
In time to come.
When you study the original language, this smile or this laughter, is described as being in jest or play. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Definition says it is “usually in contempt or derision” and is “to laugh mockingly.” My roomate and I used to play pranks on each other all the time. So when I think about this definition, I think about that joy you feel when you’ve laid the trap and you’re just waiting for the other person to fall for it. I think about that joy, that laughter at their expense, when all your planning and preparation has paid off. I think about when you’re playing a card game with friends, and you look down at the cards in your hand and you see that one card that’s exactly what you needed – you know the next hand you’re about to lay down is going to ensure your eminent victory, so that smile creeps across your face. I think about football players when they dance in the endzone, rubbing that victory in the face of their opponent. Maybe they haven’t won the game yet, but they’re one step closer than they were before. So they smile. They laugh. They rejoice.
This is the same word used in 2 Samuel 6:2 when David danced before the Lord. In the New Living Translation, David says, “…so I celebrate before the Lord.” It’s an act of worship. David did not care how foolish he appeared to the onlookers. The woman in Proverbs 31 did not care what the future held, because she fully trusted God.
What I find fascinating is this word – which has been translated as to smile, to laugh, to rejoice, to celebrate – it is used more frequently in the book of Job, the book of suffering, than in any of the book in the Bible. When we are found righteous by God, when we are trusted by God to endure the testing of our faith, then we can rejoice despite our circumstances. We can smile through our discouragement. We can laugh in the face of adversity. We can celebrate our eminment victory. Because we trust in the goodness of God, we can trust in the goodness of the time yet to come.
“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh what a foretaste of glory divine. Heir of salvation, purchase of God. Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood… Perfect submission, all is at rest. I in my Savior am happy and blessed. Watching and waiting, looking above. Filled with His goodness, lost in His love… This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior, all the day long.”
– Fanny Crosby