Although I’m a praying person, I have to admit that my faith is not always strong. It comes and goes, rises and falls, much like the ocean tide.
At high tide, I am awash in belief. But when the tide is low, belief, like a perfect unbroken shell, is hard to find.
Sometimes I even forget to pray. I forget that prayers are often answered. I wander away from the beach and search for answers in touristy gift shops instead.
This week I struggled with various maladies of the heart. Some affected me directly, but most were life issues suffered by friends and family.
A co-worker’s mother died. A friend found out her 5-year-old granddaughter’s brain cancer has returned with a vengeance. An uncle had triple-bypass open heart surgery. My children were faced with various problems with no immediate solutions.
As I sat at my desk Tuesday, I felt a bit despondent. Questions I could not answer haunted my every thought. But suddenly, out of nowhere, high tide washed in. I grabbed my phone and typed a Facebook post:
“I’m praying for miracles today, for me and all my friends and loved ones, with illnesses, emotions, relationships, finances, jobs and desires of the heart. C’mon, God. I believe!”
And I did believe … for a little while.
While I am a praying person, I’m also very impatient. I don’t like waiting, for anything. For that reason, I avoid any activities that involve standing in long lines of people waiting to get somewhere.
It drives me nuts.
So I definitely struggle with the “in God’s timing” concept. If my prayers aren’t answered or miracles don’t occur within, say, 30 to 45 minutes of my petitions, I get discouraged and want to drown myself in donuts and sangria.
“Really, God?” I say in my best petulant child voice. “What’s the deal? For a minute there I really did believe. I did! Thanks a lot … for nothing.”
My impatience often gets me in trouble. In my younger days, it made me rush into reckless decisions that had negative impacts on my life, some of which I’m still feeling today.
Over the years, I learned to control my impatience. Now, I force myself to stop and think before jumping. But it’s not easy. I still struggle with my inherent desire for everything to happen now if not sooner.
It drives my husband nuts.
But God made me this way. I am who I am because of him and his infinite wisdom. I have to believe he knew what he was doing when he made me uber-sensitive, overly fond of food, and, yes, impatient. So hopefully he doesn’t mind my ebbs and flows of faith.
When the tide is out and I am lost on shore, wandering around like an angry tourist robbed of his passport, he knows I’ll be back. The earth and moon will do their things, rotating, pushing, pulling, and the tide will return.
As of Thursday, I had not yet seen immediate evidence of answered prayers. To my knowledge, no miracles had occurred. My patience and faith had worn thin and my heart was heavy with discouragement. But still, way down deep inside, underneath all that heaviness and impatience, I had an inkling of hope. It was smaller than a grain of sand, but it was there.
I know God is faithful, even when I am not. He just has his own ideas of when and how things should be done. I have no doubt my prayers will be answered —tomorrow, next week or next month.
And if they’re not, if it takes too long and my patience is stretched to its limit, there’s always donuts and sangria.