One summer I spent four weeks working with a missionary organisation in South Africa. While I was there, I was invited to spend a weekend away with the local Indian Brethren Church. It was a youth weekend, spent at a conference centre called Living Waters. There were shady trees and gentle rivers in the middle of gently sloping sugar cane fields.
The focus of the weekend was fellowship and fun, combined with dynamic worship and preaching.
I was sharing a dorm with fifteen or so “youth”. It is not a word that has applied to me for more than a few decades. Being “youth” the plan was to stay up all night talking. Not being “youth” my plan was to sleep. Their plans succeeded while mine failed miserably and at about five in the morning I gave up trying to blot out the eruptions of giggles with my pillow.
Under normal circumstances I’m not really at my best first thing in the morning and after a sleepless night I did not trust myself to manage even basic politeness and courtesy. God suggested that He and I take a walk – Father and daughter - to see an African sunrise.
We walked for about an hour, away from all the trees and up to the top of a sugar cane field. There were just rolling hills all around and clusters of houses with tendrils of smoke rising from breakfast fires. The air was so still that you almost hear fragments of conversations from a mile away.
The sky became lighter and lighter and I began to think that this was going to be one of those mornings where it just kept getting lighter and lighter until it was as light as it was going to get. There are days when the sun just rises. It just happens. There is nothing to miss because nothing dramatic happens.
God’s word to me was “patience”.
When it came it was more than spectacular. The sky was streaked with brilliant reds, rich oranges and vibrant pinks. Ever so slowly and ever so gradually the sun rose gloriously. It was worth waiting for.
Standing on top of the hill bathed in sunlight, God reminded me that His promises are like that. The sunrise always happens because it is the law of nature for it to always happen. You can be sure that every morning the sun will rise. When God makes a promise you can be sure that He always keeps it because it is the law of God. He is a promise keeping God. Sometimes you just need to be patient and wait.