Frenetic days of the previous week have faded as we’ve begun to swim along in the Keswick routine. Sometimes it feels like tired doggy paddle, but generally we’re carried along on the current of the boys and the book-selling. From the ‘I’m awake, Daddy’ early morning greetings to twice daily enthusiastic book plugs to wheeling the buggy from park to creche to bookshop.
And catching up with some lovely people along the way.
But the swim has been interrupted by another spanner in the proverbial works.
We’re waiting for a temporary business visa to get us over the pond, and after an interview at the embassy 10 days ago had assumed all was well. And then the spanner came in the form of a phone call to Jonathan with a bunch of questions and a negative tone that made him think we were on a hiding to nothing. It sounded like plan b might have to give way to plan c…which has yet to be formulated.
And so we’re waiting still. Waiting on a visa. Waiting on top of the waiting we’ve been doing for months now. Waiting without any certainty about the end result. Waiting.
While the wait goes on, we become more aware of our helplessness and our dependence on God. We can’t do anything but keep praying, keep trusting, keep staving off that gutted panicked feeling as plans seem to be crumbling.
Before the spanners were in the works, it seemed to us that God’s hand was setting things up for fruitful times for the ministry over there. Not fruit as in riches for us, but fruit that will bring Him glory as more people are impacted by Jesus-pointing books. It might still be the case, and we pray that much fruit does come from such things.
But the spanners have made me wonder if the immediate fruit of all this will be in us as God forms us, shapes us and makes us more like Jesus. More aware of our dependence on Him. More thankful for the eternal things that don’t change whatever our circumstances. More willing to go with His plan rather than ours. More eager to see that plan in action. More likely to pray. More likely to abide in His word. More delighted in the certain hope of Jesus amidst our uncertain dreams and desires.
Garden chat has become the norm in these heatwave days, and I’ve been reminded that fruit-growing doesn’t just happen when the flowers are in bloom. It’s happening all year round, even though the flowers are not always visible.
‘For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction’ (Genesis 41v52)
Our ‘land of affliction’ is nothing in comparison to what so many people are going through, but it encourages me that in God’s economy fruit comes even when spanners are being thrown around and life feels hard.
We’ve been reading J.C. Ryle ,who never fails to hit the heart, and this morning’s nugget asked the question ‘But are we prepared to be sanctified by any process that God in his wisdom may call on us to pass through?’.
We’re praying that God would bear fruit in us – that we would be made more like Jesus – in the current ‘process’ that we’re going through.