Patience

Last Christmas I was given a Moth Orchid. It was flowering beautifully – and looking far too exotic for the Yorkshire Dales. I checked my houseplant book to see how to care for it: Many people, it said, fail with the moth orchid because it is very difficult to emulate the conditions in which the plant grows in its native Malaya.

Not much hope for me, then, I thought, but was pleasantly surprised when it continued to flower for several months despite being on a cold, north-facing windowsill. Eventually, the last flower dropped off, and all that were left were two stalks, looking not much more alive than the supporting stakes.

 

 

Should I dispose of this ‘demanding plant’, I wondered, or should I wait a little and see if there was any hope for it? Well, I don’t like throwing plants away, so I waited a little…

and suddenly a new flower spike began to emerge, and then a bud, then more buds, and finally this week:

  

I was reminded of one of the parables the Lord Jesus told.

He also spoke this parable: A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.

Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, “Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and found none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?”

But he answered and said to him, “Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it, and if it bears fruit, well...

What patience God shows with rebellious mankind! How often we spurn Him and refuse to turn in repentance to Him so that our lives might bring forth the fruit which is rightfully His! But let us not presume on His patience, for the parable finishes with these solemn words:...but if not, after that you can cut it down.” (Luke 13:6-9)

Thus Jesus showed that the judgements of God are rooted in righteousness, the rights of the proprietor; that the judgements of God are exercised always in infinite patience. Finally, however, if, in spite of the righteous demand, and the long patience, and His own ministry of mediation, there is no fruit, then He is at one with God in judgement; and the judgements of God are irrevocable.’ Campbell Morgan

Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart, you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God, who will render to each one according to his deeds. (Romans 2:4-6)

  

God calleth yet: at last shall I not heed?

How long shall I refuse the grace I need?

While pleasure fades, and time’s swift moments fly,

Still shall my soul in mortal peril lie?

 

God calleth yet: at length shall I not turn?

Dare I once more His faithful pleading spurn?

Though I have known full well what I should be,

My will rebelled: yet now He calleth me.

 

God calleth yet: alas, this stubborn heart!

I feared His yoke, shrank from the nobler part;

God and my soul how oft have I betrayed!

He draws me still: rise, heart, be not afraid.

 

Yield to Him now, once and for ever yield;

Make God thy portion, and His grace thy shield.

What though the world its pleasures still display?

God calleth yet: O heart, do thou obey!

 

iGerhard Tersteegen