An impatient college student went to the president of the school and asked if he could take an accelerated course that would allow him to graduate sooner. “Yes,” the president replied, “but it depends on what you want to be. When God wants to make an oak, he takes a hundred years. But when He wants to make a squash, He takes 6 months.”

Like that student, we sometimes get frustrated with the rate of our spiritual growth. We’d like to see ourselves a lot closer to maturity than we are. We’re disappointed that we fall back into childish behavior we thought we had outgrown. We want “school” to be over.

But growth takes time, and it often comes in spurts. Trees grow rapidly during a 4 to 6 week period in early summer, when woody fibers appear between the bark and the trunk. During the remainder of the year, these fibers solidify into the sturdy wood from which furniture is built, which will last several lifetimes.

Not growing as fast in your Christian life as you’d like? Perhaps you’re “solidifying.” It’s a vital part of the process that the One who began a good work in you will bring to completion (Phil. 1:6). Be patient. God isn’t finished with you yet.