Life used to be all about the weekends.
Whether it was camping with mates, spending a day at the beach or having a good time, nothing would beat those two days free of responsibility!
But then there were the weekdays. At this stage I worked where every school leaver worth his or her salt worked, and did my time at the local strawberry farm. This involved the back breaking work of picking fruit in the heat of the sun while tying not to breathe in or swallow one of the flies crawling up your nose or flying into your mouth!
It was awkward, tedious work. But the good (and the bad) thing is that you got paid per punnet you picked. The harder you worked, the more you were paid. It was a fair incentive.
Although the weekend was coming, I also knew that to some extent my level of enjoyment would come down to how hard I worked during the week. The more I made use of this awkward ‘season’, the better off I would be once the ‘promise’ came!
The Israelites found themselves in the awkward and challenging position of living as captors in a foreign land. But in the midst of their distress, God gave them a promise through the prophet Jeremiah:
‘This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place” (29:10)
There were two types of response to this promise. One family gratefully put ‘life on hold’ until the promise was fulfilled, while the wise families made the most of the ‘gap time’ and ‘built houses, settled down, married and increased in number’ (Jer 29:4-5).
God was always going to fulfil His promise. The ‘Weekend’ was coming! Yet those families who made the most of their 70 years in exile were in a better position to work the land and harvest a greater crop than those who sat on the sidelines for 70 years waiting for the buzzer to go off.
The level of fruitfulness in the future is often dependent on how we make the most of the present. We don’t know how long this season may last, but rather than being victim to it, let’s dominate it! The extent we embrace the awkward now is the extent we will be launched with strength into the next!