As we were arriving at Spring Valley, Wis., I saw the white on black Emmaus Church sign in the open grassy area.

We continued on to the church building itself, partly to satisfy the navigational device as well as our own curiosity.

Parking nearby the worship site, I had just enough time to stroll along the paved path by the little rushing stream, admire the profusion of color in all the blooming flowers at the corner and get back near the car to hear part of the “seek and ye shall find” gospel reading, followed by the announcement of a guest speaker.

I had been glancing over to see if I might get a glimpse of Spring Valley native Pastor Todd in the cap that effectively filled up the screen when he bowed his head during the previous week’s online message. He’d talked about the importance of repenting without “blame-shifting” and worshiping under all circumstances — including when the dishwasher fails you.

Confident that the message for August 23rd would also appear online as well and not wanting to disturb the gathered faithful we soon departed. After a quick loop through the attractive downtown my husband and I embarked on a meandering drive through the rolling hills.

Back home I watched UW-River Falls student and the church’s intern Jacob deliver his first sermon while he stood poised in front of some nice bookshelves. I was interested to hear what he had to say about that fig tree Jesus cursed.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

As he explained, it was all leaves and no fruit. Emphasizing “fruits of the spirit,” such as kindness and patience and how to grow them, Jacob talked about the importance of prayer being “genuine and frequent” — it’s imperative to depend on God. He went on to say that while one abides with God, it’s key to realize God’s eye is on eternity (not necessarily your lottery winnings).

The prayer goes, “thy will be done.” Sometimes the answer to prayer is “no” and sometimes it’s “wait.”

You never have to wait, however, to cultivate your own spiritual self-control, strength of peace and sense of joy.