When I was a growing teenage boy, I used to be hungry all the time. Sometimes my hunger would be so severe that I would feel pangs in my stomach, which caused me to double over (only slightly dramatically). I was ravenous, my hunger almost insatiable, my mouth watering at the thought of any (and all) food. Where does a teenager turn in such moments of torment and agony? The fridge and the pantry, that’s where! Sometimes I would find something in the fridge that needed reheating or cooking in the microwave, so I would put it in, set the timer and wait…for about half a second. During the time my food was in the microwave (anywhere from thirty seconds to two minutes), I would raid the pantry. It was the same if I had bread in the toaster. Can you believe it? Even if I had the assurance of being fed within two minutes, I was still too impatient to wait for what was promised.
I was born in the early 1990s, so I have grown up with the Internet becoming more and more widespread and accessible for most of the world; I’ve also borne witness to the phenomena of digital cameras, text messages, smart phones, Google, on-demand television and portable music players (like iPods). I am part of the “Microwave Generation”. We are so accustomed to instant gratification and convenience that any delay is intolerable. We expect the fame, the glory, the money now. It’s difficult to put in a lot of effort for a long time because we aren’t used to waiting for results or reward.
All things worth growing take time.
You can’t expect a tree to grow from a seed overnight—plants need to be tended and cared for over time. It’s the same with relationships: cultivating strong bonds and friendships cannot be rushed, or else their roots will be too shallow and they won’t last through the difficulties of life.
A week before starting the School of Communication and Digital Influence with YWAM Newcastle last year, my now fiancée and I began considering starting a relationship, fully aware that she was to fly back to the United States three months later, without knowing when—or if—she would return to Australia. After praying and consulting our parents and mentors, we decided to give it a go. We felt God asking us to trust Him with our future together (if there was one at all). Those three months passed quickly, and it was very hard for us to say goodbye.
Following her departure, we were apart for a total of five months. During that time, I learnt so much about the importance of waiting. I was often tempted to spend my days wishing I was with her. God had to constantly remind me that if I focus on what I’m missing, I’ll miss what I should be focusing on—namely the people I was around. He’d told me to trust Him with our future, so that’s what I chose to do. Instead of stamping my foot impatiently by the microwave or snacking as I counted down each excruciating second, God wanted me to appreciate the growth and change that was taking place within me while I waited.
I knew that if I approached our relationship’s situation with patience, I would be more able to endure the months apart. We talked almost every day, which helped us get to know each other in a different way than we would have if we had been by doing something together in person, for which we are grateful. Every time we talked on the phone we would be constantly reminded of what we were missing out on. Sometimes this was agonising, our hearts aching for the other’s presence. However, God taught me a valuable lesson through it: I had the choice to view talking with my girlfriend as a painful reminder of our separation, or
I could see it as a beautiful promise of the reward for our patience.
If God had not asked me to trust Him with the future, I may not have been able to wait it out. But because I dared to “imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (Hebrews 6:12b), and rely on God for His patience, I am now beginning to experience the promised reward. My fiancée and I are together again, and it’s amazing. I proposed two days after she arrived back in Australia—I told you I struggled with waiting sometimes! Nonetheless, I am in need of still more patience, as we grow in our relationship and learn to love each other in a way that reflects the selfless—and patient—nature of Christ.
by Ryan Winslade
YWAM Newcastle Staff
Ryan (AUS) has been on staff with YWAM Newcastle since February of 2014, and is currently working in our Creative Communications Department. He enjoys artistic pursuits such as writing and playing music, podcasting and creative writing.
This post is the fourth in a blog series on the fruits of the Spirit by YWAM Newcastle staff and alumni. In the series, each author shares how a specific fruit of the Spirit has impacted their understanding of God’s character. Through these blog posts, we hope to encourage you to look for examples of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in your own life.