Have you ever bitten into a green tomato? Have you ever sunk your teeth into a fall apple during the heat of summer or into a summer strawberry during the cool of spring? Have you ever listened to a choir’s first rehearsal, read a book’s first draft, gazed at an artist’s initial sketches? Have you ever tasted a chef’s half-baked dish, watched a choreographer’s first dance, listened to a song’s initial lyrics?
If you’ve eaten that apple or read that draft or listened to that song you know the unpleasantness of enduring what is merely underway, of what remains a work in progress. If your tongue has been curdled by that sour strawberry, if your ears have been pierced by those unformed harmonies, if your eyes have been offended by the missed cues and faltering steps, you know the struggle to appreciate work that is partial, that is unfinished, that remains in its formative stages.
We have no right to pass judgment on work that has not yet been completed. We should not condemn in August an apple that is meant to ripen on the tree until October. It will become sweet in its time, if only we are patient. We should not write off as inharmonious the melody for which the composer has not yet written the final notes. The whole will be beautiful if only we wait for him to finish. We should not discard the tea as flavorless before it has had time to steep or criticize the dish as bland before it has received its seasoning. Rather, we must wait patiently until we can appreciate the completed product, the work in its finished form.
We are sometimes too quick to draw conclusions about unfinished work, too hasty to form judgments about what has only just gotten underway. The truth is that we have no right to judge the skill of an artist before he has hung his picture in the gallery, no right to assess the work of a chef before he has set his dish on the table, no right to judge the flavor of the produce until the farmer has declared it ripe. And in much the same way, surely it is only right to reserve judgment on God’s providences until he has fully worked them out, until he has shown us not just their beginning, but also their end.
Wisdom compels us to wait, to be patient, to admit that we ourselves do not wish to be judged for what we have merely begun, for what we may have envisioned in our minds but not yet fully formed with our hands. Wisdom reminds us there is an Artist who is fashioning a work that, when complete, will be wondrously beautiful, that there is a Farmer who knows exactly when the fruit will be fully ripened and delightfully sweet. Wisdom gently whispers there is an Author telling a story whose end will be as wonderful as its beginning, whose final chapter will be as breathtaking as its first.
Today I see only partially, I see only bits, I see only beginnings of God’s works of providence in the death of my precious son. But I’m convinced the day will come when I will see completely, I will see the whole, I will see the end. Until the time God unveils his work in its completion, I must wait with faith—I will wait with faith—with full confidence that this masterpiece will declare his glory, that it will showcase his goodness, that it will be worthy of my most heartfelt praise.