By Anni Harry
Have you ever heard the advice: don’t pray for patience because then the Lord will give you opportunities to build your patience? Today’s Gospel reading starts off in the same vein: the apostles ask Christ to, “Increase our faith,” and as I sit with those words, I squirm a little.
As a military wife, I am intimately familiar with the opportunities to “increase my faith.” In fact, as I write these words, we sit here waiting to hear where our family will move next summer… if our family will move next summer. Like clockwork, our life is one big test of faith—where will the military send us? Where will we live? Will we find landlords accepting of our dogs? Will the kids find friends in our new community, and in their new school? How will the little ones transition? How will we transition? Will the atmosphere we find increase the strength of our marriage?
Doubts, anxieties, and uncertainty swirl routinely within a military family. Similar doubts, anxieties, and uncertainty are common within the hearts and minds of non-military as well.
Too often, we have a set agenda. We have trouble, “Letting go, and letting God.” We like to have our lives ordered—from neat and pristine, to organized in agendas and on a track we determine. We have a vision for what we want to see happen in our lives, and we set out making the dreams come to fruition. Yet, in our first reading, we are reminded,
“For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.”
Then, Christ instructs the apostles in the Gospel,
“When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”
God is calling each of us to live a life not according to our created schedules. Instead, He is calling each of us to live a life according to His schedule. Ultimately, it is God’s timetable that matters the most—not ours.
The apostles, in their full humanity, truly desired something that is elusive: faith. Full faith, full trust, complete abandon to God’s will.
Centuries later, we each have an opportunity to murmur the same words, “Lord, Increase our faith.” Most of us desire a deep, unwavering, unashamed faith. Yet, we are often scared to ask Him for that faith. We worry about what that request may bring. We experience anxiety thinking of what that request could entail. We doubt our faith is strong enough to withstand the building of the faith.
Many times, we attempt to control God’s timetable by controlling our surroundings, our environment, and even our calendars. We try to plan everything to the most minute detail, and when others remark at how well we seem to have everything put together; yet, in today’s readings, we find the gentle reminder that our plans aren’t always God’s plans.
We are reminded that our timeline doesn’t always fit God’s timeline.
God’s plans and His timeline are perfect.
The struggle we face is to not only recognize that we have wants and desires, but to ultimately lay those wants and desires at the foot of His Cross, and surrender ourselves—timeline, desires, wishes, and all—to Him.
As people, we are created to know and love God. Life with Him in eternity is our end goal. And, we truly are unprofitable servants.
We are obliged to love God, to seek God, and to know God. We are obliged to encourage others on their path toward sanctification, as we travel our own path toward sanctification.
Letting go of our control, and letting God take control of our lives is scary. Yet, it is part of building faith. Whether it’s control over where we move next, or any anxiety over our future, turning those over to God helps us work on building faith.
And, as we build that faith, we are doing what we have been obliged to do.
Today, let us take time to let go, and to pray in the words of the apostles,
“Lord, increase our faith.”
About the author:
Anni is a proud Army wife, and mom. She currently works as the Catholic Religious Education Coordinator her family’s military chapel. She can be found on social media at A Beautiful, Camouflaged Mess of A Life on FB, @beautifulcamouflagedmess on IG, and @BeautifulCamoMe on Twitter. She also writes for her own blog, in addition to other Catholic women outlets.