This morning I was putting some chicken in the crockpot for tonight's dinner. I love my crockpot because I can stick a bunch of ingredients in it, walk away, and--voila--dinner's ready several hours later. And the chicken is so tender, you could cut it with a plastic spoon.
The beauty of the crockpot is that you don't have to think about it all day, but for some reason, I did. Several times today.
I kept thinking about how that slow, multi-hour process yields something tender. I can certainly cook chicken in a lot less than 6 hours, but it's not nearly as tender.
I can be a pretty impatient person. Mostly with my own "work-in-progress" status. I don't like waiting, I don't like going through the process. I'd rather skip the steps, rush the deal, and fast-forward through it all. And at the end, I just want to be the woman God wants me to be. I just don't want to have to wait for it.
And yet I know that the long process, the waiting--these things make my heart tender. One of the longest waits of my life was for our second child. I was ready for Baby #2 when Trevor was about 6 months old. Well, 2 years, a miscarriage, and a high-risk pregnancy later, I held Aila Grace in my arms. The waiting process held everything from praying to crying to hoping, and required of me a level of trust and faith that didn't come naturally to me. But the waiting, the slow process, produced a tenderness in me that couldn't have happened any other way.
And it couldn't have been sped up with the same results.
Think back to the things that came to you without a wait. Now think of that "something" or those "somethings" that required you to hang out in a wait. And think of how the Lord was able to do a work in your heart through the process that just plain had to unfold over time in order to accomplish what He purposed to take place IN YOU. Have you ever noticed that when things come quickly or easily, it's easier to take them for granted? But when something costs you a long wait, it seems the outcome is a tender heart that cannot contain its gratitude. When Aila was born, I got to hold her for a moment, and then they took her for a few minutes to wrap her up and take care of her, and I just sat there saying outloud, "I am so grateful. I am so grateful." Words that flowed from a heart made tender while walking the long road of a "wait."
Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (not lacking anything). James 1:4
So when you and I are hanging out in the smack dab middle of a slow-cooker kind of process, it won't work to try and crank up the heat to speed things up.
Because the results just aren't the same.