“There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
“…but though he has permitted man to consider time in its wholeness, man cannot comprehend the work of God from beginning to end” (Ecc. 3:11). Men cannot comprehend God’s ways, but when it comes to prayers of supplication, we are very quick to judge them based on how quickly they are answered. God’s kingdom is not of this world, and His children will never be perfectly happy until they are united with Him. Because of this, we are always asking for more, for we are never fully satisfied. Our requests are not always greedy, often they are based in holy desires, for example a husband might ask for more patience at home, a politician for wisdom in court, or a police officer for courage in the face of danger. But the one thing many of us seem to forget is that even pious requests are answered in God’s own time, when He knows it is best, not when we think it is best.
There have been many times when either myself or those close to me have felt alone, as if God was not listening. There were phases when I began to feel like the more I prayed, the less I was answered, and the more I asked for, the less I received. Or so it seemed. But the passage of time reveals things that before were hidden, and lends perspective to the most confusing trials of the past. The times of dryness, of Divine silence, serve a great purpose, as St. John of the Cross eloquently explains in The Dark Night of the Soul: “The soul enters the night of the spirit in order to journey to God in pure faith, which is the means whereby the soul is united to God.” The time of trial, of waiting, serves a purpose, cultivates strength, and only makes the emergence from such silence even sweeter. But just as we are not always meant to be spiritually consoled, we are neither meant to be in a perpetual mystical desert, and as time passes, and the trial ends, oftentimes God reaches down to show us how He did, in fact, answer every one of our prayers from that time. It may not have been the way that we asked Him to, but it is always the way that was best.
The Catechism teaches us that “We pray as we live, because we live as we pray” (CCC 2725). Just as certain times require patience, endurance, courage, faith, hope, and trust, our prayer lives requires the same. If in our lives we do not weather the storms with Christ and offer up each season to Him, realizing that each one serves its purpose and has a place, then we will not become stronger in Him and our lives will suffer for it, just like our spiritual lives suffer when we allow a lack of consolation or joy to turn us away. We must remember that even the hardest times can bear fruit, and that though we can comprehend the span of time, we will never understand God, and the way He moves outside of time, answering our prayers before we can say them, in a manner we may never appreciate, but in the very best fashion imaginable.
© 2014. Abigail Reimel. All rights reserved.