From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
In order for a tree or any plant to grow and bear fruit, its seed must first be planted in the ground and die. In order for fruit to appear in our lives, we must first be planted in the Word of God and then die to self.
In the face of chastening, adversity, discipline, and affliction, fruit begins to appear. This process, like steel that has been tempered and made strong by the heat of a furnace, makes us useful to God.
Think about it. A baby isn’t sent out to fight a battle. The baby must first grow in strength, in size, and in wisdom before he’s able to fight. It is the same for those whom God wishes to use. Joseph would never have been of use to God had he not been sold into slavery by brothers who hated him and wrongly accused by Potiphar, who put him in prison. He had to wait two more years for release from prison. All of this was God’s preparation for Joseph’s ultimate rise to a position of power and authority second only to that of Pharaoh himself, a position he used to feed all of Israel during a famine.
As we wait upon the Lord, God may sometimes seem slow in coming to help us, but He never comes too late. His timing is always perfect. How could it not be so from a God who favors us? The Bible says that His favor is for a lifetime (Psalm 30:5).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)