Help. Hope. Healing.

After Many Days

By Rex Goode


Impatience is something I fight constantly. I’m the sort of person that once I know what I want, I expect to be able to obtain it as soon as possible, usually by doing some small task and then being done with it. I find it difficult to wait.The most difficult thing of all is having to wait for someone else. People can be so uncooperative with my plans, especially when they have plans of their own. If they would only put their plans on hold long enough to cooperate with me, they could get on with what they want to do.

Unfortunately, they’re probably thinking the same thing about me. If I would just wait to get my needs met, then we could both get on with life. Cooperation is such a tricky thing.

It seems like the solution would be simple, and I think that it would be simple if only two people were involved. The two could negotiate who goes first and then the other follows. They both get what they want within a short time.

The complication is that it’s usually not between just two people. Imagine a city with no roads. It is laid out like a ring with a big paved area in the center. To get from one point to another, you have to get in your car and somehow get across the pavement to another part of town. There are no traffic control devices. Everyone just gets there the best they can. The silly thing is, that is life in groups of people. No wonder there are clashes of personalities and lots of wreckage.

Part of impatience is doubt. I am impatient because I have doubts that things will work out. I don’t like waiting for the story to end so I can find out how. I want to skip to the last page and see if the heroes prevail.

The greater doubt is self-doubt. I find myself thinking that if I people don’t cooperate that what I desire will never come to pass because I lack the confidence that I can do it on my own. I need to know how things turn out so that I can comfort myself that I haven’t failed yet again.

Since the antidote to doubt is faith, I seek for a way to exercise faith in things turning out. I find comfort in the scripture that says:

Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days (Ecclesiastes 11:1).

In this symbolism, the bread leaves your hand and lands on the water. From that moment until many days have passed, you have no control over it. It has to come to you.

At the same time, you probably can’t just lie down and wait for it. You have to look for it. It goes where God takes it and returns to you in his time.

If I were to honestly look at acting out behavior, I could probably tie it to frustrations over waiting for someone to cooperate so I can get what I want. The reliable thing about acting out is that you don’t have to wait for anyone else. Well, some forms of acting out may require another person, but there are all sorts of ways to find someone willing to indulge with you. Addicts are everywhere.

The experience of acting out is one of fighting doubt with something that works reliably and without waiting long. If I only had faith in how God sorts all of human desires out to give his children what they need, I would have the patience to wait for good things to come to me, for my bread to return.

Sometimes, when I’m more in a mode of faith, I choose the right and then say to myself, “There. You’ve done the right thing. Give God a chance to work on eveyone else involved to support it.”

It is hard to exercise that kind of faith when acting out and feeling some sense of satiation is so easy to do. Yet, what a paradox! Casting bread on the water and not being in charge of where it goes is a work-saver, while acting out and getting instant gratification is quickly done and then comes the agony.

Oh if I could only learn how to consistently do God’s will and be patient for the outcome! I am striving to learn how to do right and then wait in expectation for the blessings that come after many days.

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