A cartoon showed Ziggy praying to God in these words: I just want to let you know, God, the patient people are still getting clobbered down here.
Patience with God is perhaps one of our greatest struggles. God, it would seem, is never in a hurry and because of this, we live with an impatience that can test the strongest faith and stoutest heart. Father Rohlheiser tells us that “None of us wants a God who asks us to live in a lifelong patience, predicted on the promise that in the end, whenever that will be, love and justice will prevail, all tears will be dried up and all will finally be well.” He is telling us God is not asking that of us. God is not playing the waiting game, but the problem is that we want all of all good things to happen NOW! We want problems to be sorted out quickly – today, tomorrow, or next week at the latest. Next year seems too far off. We tend to grow impatient and lose hope quickly when God’s promises and his rescue seem slow in coming, but it is important to understand God’s sense of time. God’s plans operate not just over days or weeks, but can be over years and longer. Rohlheiser goes on to say, “God, as an old Jewish axiom puts it, is never in hurry! Actually and more importantly we are challenged to believe that our God is an Eternal God. Our God is a God of infinite love and infinite wisdom whose past, present and future are all the same. God lives in the eternal present. His mind is not the mind of humans. Therefore God’s plans and decisions will not always meet with our criteria.” It is said that the Italian spiritual writer, Carlo Carretti, spent 20 years in solitude as a monk in the desert. When asked what one single thing he heard God saying during those long days his answer was, “God was asking us to wait and be patient with his plan.” He explained that God cannot be rushed. In God’s timetable he protects us from perpetually stunting life and love through our demands of wanting our requests fulfilled prematurely. However, in all of this there is one thing we know for sure: God’s loving design for us individually, personally, socially and spiritually is always for our good.
Attempting to show how our society views patience someone wrote: “Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, but not in the one ahead.” That’s true for all of us sometimes. We might identify with Margaret Thatcher’s idea of patience. She explains to us that she’s an extraordinary patient person provided she gets her own way in the end. These comments might hold some humor as well as truth, and they also point out that we need to dig down deeper and take a serious look at patience and our need to practice this virtue.
Bishop Barron tells us that “Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action. It is a matter of ‘timing,’ of waiting for the right time to act, with the right principles and in the right way.” It is clear that waiting for God’s answer is a part of everyone’s life, but Barron reminds us that we must wait with the active expectation that God WILL move. There is a close connection between patience and awareness and trust in God’s Providence. Nothing happens in life that God does not foresee and allow. God can bring good to it if we trust his all-wise concern and love for each of us. Whenever we do not understand what’s happening in our lives, someone advised that we should just close our eyes, take a deep breath and pray: God, I know it is your plan…just help me through it. Struggles and challenges are simply a part of everyone’s life, but just let God be God! Then it’s safe to say…and believe… all is going to be okay!!!