Investments Take Time

Horses are incredible creatures # 5

coneflower-3549331_1920In autumn last year I re-organized my flowerbeds to have some space for vegetables. This included moving a few plants and I was curious to see how they would do in their new environment. One of them was a coneflower, which had spread widely in its old spot and bloomed like crazy every year. When spring came, almost no leaves showed up and I was afraid I had killed it by moving it, but then a few green leaves poked out of the ground and I was relieved. I took special care of it, watering it faithfully throughout the long, hot summer, but it didn’t bloom. The leaves grew, healthy and strong, but no flower appeared. I was a bit sad, but then I winked at it. ‘Next year,’ I thought.

And then it struck me what a great investment I had put into this plant, caring for it all year long without the reward of pretty yellow flowers shining in my garden. Especially on rainy days these flowers give me special joy, because they look as if the sun is shining anyway. Not this year, though. IMG_0609

My brain did a major leap to my horse. Investment is a large issue there, as well. I bought my horse before it was even born. I felt her kicking in her mother’s belly and was overwhelmed with joy when she was finally born. I aptly named her ‘My Curious Delight’ – and started investing. There’s not that much you can do with a young horse. Teach it to wear a halter and follow your lead. Teach it to pick up its feet so you can clean them. Make it stand still for brushing down. Tell it kicking and biting are not tolerated. And apart from that – just watch it play in the pasture. It’s a long, long way before you start to ride it. At some point you start working lessons with the lunge line, throw things over its back so it can get used to that, teach it voice commands. But it’s still a long, long way before you start to ride it.

I invested three years before I first sat on her back. And what I did then couldn’t be called riding, either. It was still investment. Teach her the clues. Teach her the moves. Hang on for dear life when she suddenly decided she’d had enough now. It took a long, long time before I could relax and say ‘Now I’m riding this horse. I’m enjoying it. The investment is finally paying off.’

I know there are lots of people out there who don’t have the patience for such an investment. They want quick results and take the shortcut. In the flowerbed they would clear out the roots and buy a new plant from the store, already in bloom. With the horses, they often start way too soon and use force to drill the required routine into the animal. There’s little love in such an approach, because the creature doesn’t count. The result does.

What would our world look like if God had no love for it? If He would take the shortcut to get the results He wants? I’ve heard a lot of people accusing him of not doing that. Why doesn’t he stop the suffering? Why does he allow these natural catastrophes? Why doesn’t he end the wars? God, please! Take the shortcut! Make it happen now!

He won’t. His love is totally different from anything we’re able to imagine. He is not afraid to invest hundreds and thousands of years and even His own son to reach His goals. He’s not interested in results. He’s interested in your soul and whether or not it’s with Him. Believe it or not, His main focus is simply to be with you. And that goes for every single human being that has ever lived, lives now or will ever live on this planet. The sheer magnitude of that is bowling me over.

So when we learn from God, we learn to invest. We learn to love people for who they are and not what they achieve. We learn to bear with them through pain and sorrow, if need be, so they may eventually reach their full bloom. And we don’t do it for the bloom, we do it for the person we love. Sometimes we will wish for a shortcut along the way, because some people go through very deep and dark valleys and it’s so hard to stand by them. But the shortcuts never pay off.

Don’t be afraid to invest time and love, even if you don’t see immediate results. It’s not about results, it’s about love.

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