May 2022                                                             When you're tired of working                             

The fence contained over 3,478 boards.  Boards that had been warped and weathered with age, rain, sun and algae.  It was in desperate need of repainting – a costly and time consuming task.  The privacy nature of the structure made the job even more time consuming – with the boards offset on either side of the fence to obstruct the view.  Getting into the nooks and crannies with a brush or roller would have been difficult, and there was build-up of algae on the sections that were shaded from the sun.  This needed to be removed before repainting could even begin.

One lovely spring day, while reading the forecast, I realized we were being blessed with mild weather, no rain, and highs in the low 70s.  Perfect conditions for fence prepping and painting.  Motivated, I decided we could take on the East fence and so I enlisted the muscle required (otherwise known as ‘the husband’).  It took three days to clean and pressure wash the twenty sections of fence, and by the time we were able to start applying paint with a sprayer, it was late in the afternoon.  70 boards from completing one side, we ran out of daylight.  Then the weather changed and the remainder of the clean fence sat barren in the neighborhood, waiting for the rain to pass.

At the first opportunity, we were back out working.  It was a gratifying task – but it was hard work.  I was “support” for the painter – running to get whatever was required, such as a glass of water, following with a roller to smooth out areas of excess paint, or purchasing additional five-gallon buckets as the thirsty fence drank up the color.  It was tedious – gratifying – but tedious.  At times, we became impatient with one another which didn’t help, but most of the time we were patient, and wholly committed to the task at hand.

That last hour, as I eyed the western sky and falling sun, looked at the remaining unpainted boards and calculated the chances of completing the job, I bowed my head.  I prayed for speed and I prayed for patience.  I knew there were no short cuts, but I wanted to be done.  Things always take longer and require more effort than I think they will or should.  My admiration for the persistent nature of my husband’s work is challenged with my own impatience for things to be done already,  A cool evening breeze was blowing through the trees, and I turned myself into it, grateful for the respite it offered.  It was a God-given breeze, sent to refresh, restore and recharge.  On that cool breeze, I was reassured that the fence would be completed that evening.

Kingdom work in a broken world is even more difficult.  This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.  Revelation 14:12  We are called to share the good news, and to encourage one another, and gratefully it is Jesus and the Holy Spirit who do the hard work of cleaning and preparing the heart, and then clothing the redeemed with Christ’s Robe of Righteousness.  We can become impatient while serving God, and wonder why He hasn’t returned already – after all the work we’ve done.  We need to remember that  the Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9

Don’t be discouraged as you walk the Christian path in this broken world.  You are a child of God, entrusted with His work, and He will equip you with all the power and resources required.  Jesus said in John 13:34-35. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  This is the most important.  My husband and I could never have finished the fence had we been at one another’s throat the whole time.  We worked together – even though it was difficult at times to be patient– and in the end our goal was achieved.  It will be the same for every Christian who has faith in Jesus, because He has promised.

Look!  I am coming soon, and my reward is with me.  Revelation 22:12

About the Author:  Ramona Thompson is a member of the Grace Fellowship Seventh-day Adventist Church.   Her hope is that this devotional will lift up Jesus, pointing the reader to His strength, power, grace and mercy, which is made abundantly available to all who seek Him.