During the week I came across a few neat little analogies to help us keep working faithfully toward our goals, even when we can't see much in the way of results.
The first was in an email from a friend. She wrote to tell us about the Chinese bamboo tree. For the first five years of its growth it puts out a tiny shoot that doesn't seem to change. Although it looks as if absolutely nothing is happening, it still needs regular water during this long stage. All of its development is underground where we can't see what is going on, but at the end of the five years it suddenly has a massive growth spurt. In the space of 5 weeks it grows to over 30 metres tall. She encouraged us to remember the bamboo tree and keep watering our dreams, even when it seems as if nothing is happening. They will surely grow with persistance but one thing is certain; they will wither if we give up watering.
The second was from some notes I'd taken at a conference a couple of years ago. It's about a pastor whose little girl asked him to build her a doll's house. He fobbed her off by promising to do it, but kept on working on his sermon notes. Then he noticed that his daughter was busy getting things ready to put in the doll's house. She was collecting all her furniture together and excitedly digging around in the toy box for her favourite dolls. The father's conscience began to prickle him. Although he'd intended to do nothing that day, her obvious faith and trust in his word motivated him to put aside his works, go out to his shed and begin work on the doll's house. The speaker encouraged us that it's a bit like this with us and God. We must start working toward our goals and visions even when it appears as if nothing's moving to all intents and purposes, and He'll be pleased by our faith in Him and move on our behalf. If we aren't prepared to do this much, we can't expect Him to take us seriously and work on our behalf.
These little stories work for me. I'm the sort of person who is naturally impatient for results, and the occupations I've chosen, writing and homeschooling, both require lots and lots of patience. Both have long periods when it looks as if nothing is happening. But I keep watering; I keep getting ready for that doll's house. Any good things are worth working and waiting for.