I think it’s been about 3 months now that my two boys started taking karate at a local dojo (do people still call it that?). When we first signed them up, they couldn’t be more excited. I mean, what kid wouldn’t be? They’ve seen Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris and all of the Ninja Turtles in action, so of course they want to learn how to fly through the air and make “boom” sounds when they punch. And while I’ve noticed some slight improvements in their form and knowledge of blocking (OK, not really, they’re pretty bad at it), they don’t notice anything (probably because they’re really bad at it).
And the fact that it’s been almost 3 months and there has been little to no improvement, well that is frustrating for them. I guess they had expected to be ninjas by now, saving the world from dragons and other mythical creatures. But no, they are still wearing their white belts, still throwing floppy punches, still not really understanding what it means to block a fist that is coming towards you.
But that is ok, they will eventually get it. I watched some other kids that are a bit more advanced than my kids and saw some hope that my kids will learn something. If anything, they will learn persistence and practice is what will make them better. There is no magic or short cut, they just have to go through the motions of learning before they can start defeating the evil Shredder and his Foot Clan.
It seems like the disciples were a little impatient as well, thinking that Jesus would restore Israel to what they had hoped. Even after all that Jesus explained to them, they still had this one-track mind of what they want and how they want it now. Well, they don’t get that instant gratification that they expected, not then, and not ever.
We don’t either, apparently. We sometimes expect God to work certain ways in our favour, in that we did such and such so maybe God will answer our prayer for this or that. Or we have been faithful in our church attendance so we should be “blessed”. Or maybe even we donated so much so maybe God should provide some kind of return for it.
But just like life, God doesn’t work that way. God isn’t about instant gratification or even meeting our expectations. Rather, God is about building relationships, developing communities, and fostering care among God’s children. These aren’t overnight things, but they take time and effort and intention.
The good news is that Jesus believes in us though. Jesus roots for us, supports us, and prays for us as we faithfully serve and minister to those around us. And as we heed the calling that we have been given to proclaim the gospel, may we be beacons of hope and truth as we display God’s forgiveness.
This isn’t easy, but I believe we’ll get there eventually.
Have a great week, everyone!