Throughout my life, I have encountered numerous moments when I was forced to wait for something. The four months I had to wait to receive college acceptance letters felt like four years at the time. I was not worried so much about what would happen because I know God will never fail to take care of me. But, I was impatient and I wanted to know things right away. Amidst my constant planning and waiting, attending a weekly holy congregation taught me the virtue of patience. This is what I have learned:
Each of us is destined for something, a purpose that is often unclear to us even when it is clear to God. We yearn to know the purpose of our existence and to be rest assured that we are not in this world by accident; that there is something for us to do, some difference to make, some goals to attain. Essentially, we are asked to be patient during such restless moments when our questions are left unanswered. Waiting is a process that is constantly occurring throughout man’s life. Do you remember when you could not wait to grow up, to drive your first car, to get your first job, to get married, to buy your first home. . ?
At times, even very spiritual beings can become plagued with anxieties when waiting becomes an unfeasible and intolerable task. After all, being patient in life is easier said than done. While we are waiting, we may be tempted to give in to our desires just as Eve did when she took a bite out of the forbidden apple. Her action only resulted in momentary pleasure but it cost her eternal happiness. Someone wise once said that life is the journey and not the destination. Because we spend more time waiting than receiving, it is important for saints to be good at waiting and not to fall for something that might be short of God’s plan. Patience is a divine virtue, which cannot be stressed enough as it is diminishing in a world that revolves around instant gratification and quick fixes (instant text messages, instant food, etc.).
Patience can act to help eradicate our anxieties about the future. This divine virtue grows only under trial. One cannot claim to have the virtue of patience if they have never waited for anything. Patience is not just an ability to wait; it is how one acts while they are waiting. Our attitude is something that we have the power to choose. For example, are we complaining while we wait for the fruits of our labor or are we singing? So much of our frustrations are over things that we cannot control. During such disturbing moments it is key to remember that things that are impossible with man, are possible with God. Why not turn to Him when things do not make sense? However, to receive God’s blessings requires knowing Him and spending time with Him. We will not know how to hear Him if we never speak to Him.
Patience must be allowed time to do its work because there is a season and right time for everything. Pride often makes us believe we deserve things before we are ready for them. Remember, God determines the timing in our life so we should not rush Him. Many of us try to figure things out while we are waiting and we inevitably come up with “backup plans.” But once we put our trust in God, we do not need a backup plan anymore. Do we really want God to do only what we can think of or do we want Him to work beyond our imaginations? A satisfied person is content where they are at because they know it is not where they will end up. Similarly, God never loses His joy because He has written the end of the book.
Often times, we want what God has not given to us. This is when ‘In God We Trust’, the words on American currency, becomes very important. It is important not to misplace our faith. If our faith demands miracles then we are not putting our faith in God – we are putting faith in our own faith. Patience is what we need when we are waiting for God’s timing, not our own. It requires steadfast endurance and a trust in God that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. But still, when things do not go our way and when we begin to doubt God’s plans for us, it is important to remember:
Jo bhi hota hai, teek hota hai, [firbhi maan kyoun udas hota hai]
Whatever happens, happens for the best, [still why does the heart get sad?]
Teri har bath mein, datar chupa, kuch na kuch raaz kaas hota hai.
In everything you do, O Lord, there is always a purpose, even though it may be hidden
“Even God’s smallest plan for us is bigger than any plan we can have for ourselves.” When we wait for things in life, we should wait with confidence, an expectant attitude because we receive our gifts from an omnipotent and great God who knows all our needs. As long as we place God on top of our list of priorities or ambitions, there is no way we will walk away dissatisfied. As many prophets have said: “We do not have to chase blessings. Blessings will chase us, if we chase God.”