I have trouble being patient, even after seventy one years of knowing that the world more often than not moves slowly. I suppose that I have become a bit better at waiting recently. I’ve leaned that most of the successes that I have enjoyed came from heard work and a willingness to take the necessary time to make them happen. I tend to be okay with situations over which a have a modicum of control, but I become overly anxious when I am at the mercy of others or even God. I have great faith but I also know that sometimes my prayers won’t be answered in the ways that I expect or in the timeframe that I desire.
We all have wishes, dreams, hopes. None of us are particularly keen on the idea of suffering and yet it is something that we all endure. Some people handle it way better than others because they have learned to have faith and patience that the world is unfolding as it was meant to be. It’s not an easy way of accepting all of life’s challenges, but I know those who have mastered the ability to trust that things will eventually work out.
I often speak of prayer, an activity in which I engage throughout each day. I used to ask for very specific outcomes and then feel disappointed when they didn’t happen. I finally realized that the best prayers are those in which I seek the strength to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to tackle those over which I have some control. The Serenity Prayer is my favorite because it clearly outlines the way we should all think about our pleas to God. Instead so often ask for very specific things and then waver in our beliefs if they do not happen.
I am not much of an evangelist. I know those who very naturally speak of their beliefs and spread the word of God with ease. I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable foisting my on feelings on others but I don’t mind talking with them if they ask for guidance. I do understand why it is difficult for some to feel that there is a special power beyond our own humanity. Faith is a kind of gift that is exceedingly difficult to explain, especially when really bad things are happening to people.
We tend to think that a loving God will wipe away sorrows and hurts for those who fully believe in Him. Instead the most faithful sometimes have as many difficulties as the guy who swears that there is no God. I don’t think that any of us are ever guaranteed a perfect life here on earth. What our prayers accomplish in our times of need is not always miraculous. Often it is little more than the comfort of knowing that we are not alone. A little voice in our souls tells us that we can make it through terrible pain.
The hardest times for me are those when I see loved ones hurting. I would much prefer to be able to somehow transfer their pain to me so that they might be happy once again. It’s especially terrible when they tell me that they do not believe that prayers will help them. They deny that any good has ever come from their pleas to God. They see little use for religion and find going to church a waste of precious time. They have taken a very literal stance regarding a higher power. They expect tangible proof and without it they think that those of us who do believe are silly, maybe even a bit superstitious.
I wish that they might feel what I feel because I have endured great loss, great disappointment, great sorrow and always come through feeling ever stronger and more and more loved by God. My talks with Him are my lifeline. I doubt that I would successfully get through many days without the daily conversations that I hold with Him. He knows me quite well and the very idea that He loves me even with all of my silliness and flaws is overwhelmingly powerful. Building an ever more personal relationship with Him brings me joy and patience even on the darkest days.
I am still working on being better at waiting to see what God has in store for me. I have friends like Danny, Eileen, Susan, Martin and Jezael who never seem to question God’s presence. Their love and faithfulness to Him literally shines from every aspect of their lives. They smile when trouble enters their lives confident that God will walk by their sides through all of the storms. They truly inspire me to be less inclined to bouts of fury when it seems to be taking too long for my suffering to ease.
It can be quite difficult to watch the horrors of the world unfold and still have faith. It can try us to witness so much hypocrisy and evil from people who claim to be acting in the name of God. Our faith and patience can be stretched to their very limits, and yet somehow goodness finds a way to sneak into our lives in the most unexpected ways. That’s when I really hear the voice of God reminding me of the bigger picture and of His constant vigilance even when we can’t see it. I’ll keep praying because it brings me great peace. I simply wish that others might find it as well. I have to remind myself to be patient