He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. (1 Tim. 3:7)

“The tree,” as it is affectionately called on the campus of Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, is an incredible sight to behold. While I was on staff there after my undergraduate work, colleagues brought me to the tree and told stories of how it was a stop for many slaves on the Underground Railroad. At this site, Quakers helped them find refuge and rest as they traveled north for freedom. When I stand to embrace this tree, I often give thanks for the lives and families that once passed through, but honestly, the tree is so large I can’t get my arms all the way around it. There are some spaces by its roots where I can literally sit down and hide from others in the woods. Years have gone by and this tree remains. It has matured; it has endured.

In our walk with Jesus, some things happen quickly and some things take time. We don’t mature overnight no matter how desperately we want to or how fervent our prayers are. Just like it took time for that tree to grow, our faith and godly wisdom come through experiences that help shape our character and build our faith. Our quick-fix and microwave society doesn’t always appreciate things like patience, perseverance, and self-restraint, but one’s reputation and respect hinge on them in the kingdom and the communities we serve.

Whatever God is doing in you, let him complete it.

Santes Beatty is director of multiethnic ministries for The Wesleyan Church.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.