I remember in 4th grade when I had to stand in the hall for something I had done. I don’t remember what I did. What I do remember is that I stood out there for a long time. The doors to our classroom had windows with frosted yellow glass. I think the doors themselves were green. When I thought I had stood out in the hallway long enough, I started standing on my toes to see through the frosted glass to see if I could see what was happening in the classroom. I did it repeatedly. It seemed like an eternity until the teacher came to get me to bring me back in the classroom. He told me that he saw my head pop up in the glass repeatedly and therefore he made me stand out there longer. Isn’t that often how it is with our spiritual process? The more impatient we are, the longer we have to wait.

Maturity in the prophetic means that we are patient. Prophetic is patient. Patience is part of the fruit of the Spirit. Patience is a virtue. For good reason. What does patience in the prophetic look like? It means that some words take years to come to pass. This does not mean that we have no part in it, but often the things promised us take longer to manifest themselves than we initially anticipate. Maturity means being patient for words to be fulfilled, even after years. Patience means that when God shows us something and we are eager to share it with the whole world, God may ask us to keep quiet. For a long time.

Sometimes patience looks like praying for the thing God shows us and never sharing it with anyone, and then when it happens, giving thanks to God. Sometimes patience looks like working faithfully for the thing we believe God has called us to with seeing little to no fruit. Sometimes God may take us out of that environment before the fruit ever becomes visible. We think we have wasted our time. We think the thing God has shown us will never come to pass. Sometimes the very opposite seems to happen.

I remember when events were happening in my life that were confusing to me. When I submitted them to someone in spiritual leadership over me in my life, he was the first person to tell me that I was “prophetic.” At that point in my life, I didn’t even know what being “prophetic” meant. I certainly was not in an environment that understood what it meant to be prophetic, talked about being prophetic, or honored me for being prophetic. Instead it was almost the complete opposite. Patience may look like being misunderstood for years, having little freedom to operate in your gift overtly, and not being honored for the gift that is on your life. It took years for me to come into an environment where I have the freedom to be who God has called me to be.

By Ralph Veenstra