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Sometimes important things in life take time. As I like to say, “Life is a process.” Life does not happen all at once or with one or two, good or bad, decisions. So much of life is the accumulation of a long series of decisions and events.

At Hope, I’ve been waiting for something to happen for years. But, I knew, it would first take time and patience and also for a needed series of events to occur. Some of these events would be our responsibility, but many others, were out of our control, while we needed to prayerfully wait on the Lord to do what He does. And then, a few weeks ago, it happened.

I was in Pastor Nick’s office and as I was looking out the window, there it finally was – a squirrel! A squirrel was sitting on one of our big rocks eating acorns. Yee haw! I had waited a long time to see this and it brought gratefulness and a smile. Why was it such a big deal? Because, for me, it represented years of hard work by many Hopesters and, more importantly, of God’s faithfulness.

You see, over 25 years ago, our 33 acres consisted primarily of a wheat field. Squirrels don’t generally hang out in wheat fields. But, we planted trees, many trees, over 450 trees! And by God’s care and grace, these trees have been growing, and the older oak trees have been producing many acorns. We also strategically placed rocks and boulders as part of our landscaping. So, a squirrel sitting on a rock, eating acorns, now making this property its home, is indeed a symbol of the many Hopesters who worked hard and of God’s abundant goodness. Now, I’m waiting and watching for squirrel nests to appear in our maturing trees. Good stuff we dare not overlook.

It reminded me Colossians 2:6-7, which at the beginning of Hope were key verses, 6 “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Did you know our earliest logo consisted of an acorn and mature oak tree? It represented our hope of what God would do. Our desire to see many who did not know Jesus, the acorns, die to self, confess their sins, and place their faith in Jesus, and then, to sink their roots deep, growing and maturing in Him. That’s still our hope. Bringing people closer to Jesus. Which is a process, taking time and requiring our hard work, discipline, joy, and love and also our Father’s faithfulness and goodness.  

You are, most likely, reading this a few days before Christmas. Jesus, our Savior, being born and our redemption being secured, took time. As we are told in Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” For the faithfulness of God, we need to be grateful. Also, if Christmas is ever going to make any lasting difference in our lives, then we must trust in Jesus and make good and right decisions over the long haul. Life and spiritual maturity are a process. May the next squirrel you see remind you of these things.

Merry Christmas! Jesus is born!