Some say that God's timing is perfect, though these words can be hardly encouraging if you have been waiting for a long time for your prayers to be answered and the suffering just seems to continue without end. In today's Gospel, Saint Elizabeth gives us hope. After waiting and hoping for years and years to have a child, God grants her the miracle of a son, despite the fact that she is barren. Her response is powerful as she proclaims, "So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others." (Luke 1:25) There seems to be surrender in her words as she accepts this miracle in God's timing rather than in her own timing she had wanted.
I have a friend who has been struggling with her husband around a very difficult and unique suffering in their marriage. It has been a constant struggle for them for many many years, and only recently it seems as if the Lord has been bringing them gradual yet powerful healing. Recently, I mentioned to her how she probably wishes that this new freedom would have begun to happen many years earlier. She responded in seriousness and truth. "But ya know," she said, "if this had happened sooner, we wouldn't have really known ourselves." Despite their deep pain, this experience has deepened their own knowledge of themselves, has allowed them to more deeply know God, and also to more deeply know each another. To me, it sounds similar to the surrender and praise of Saint Elizabeth as she too accepted God's mysterious timing.
Personally, I don't always feel like God's timing is perfect. But if I am honest with myself, I can see how the sufferings God allows us to bear often also accompanies great graces and opportunities for growth and learning that perhaps we could not have otherwise received.
I do not know the kind of suffering you bear. I do not know what it is that you hope and pray for that perhaps you have been wanting for many years. But I do know that you are not alone. You are surrounded by sisters who are with you in prayer and in the waiting. Let us us journey together hoping in God who hears our prayers and fulfills His Word at the proper time.
Perhaps we could insert our own names into the line of today's Gospel and pray with hope as we hear God saying also to us, "Do not be afraid, (insert name here), because your prayer has been heard." We can have faith and hope that God's timing is perfect and He is with us as we persevere in the waiting as well.
Mary Catherine Craige enjoys spending her time creating art, writing, and playing her Irish harp. She uses her experience as a Montessori teacher and catechist to serve young children through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. As a life coach for business leaders, she encourages and challenges women in all walks of life to more deeply discover their purpose and live their full potential. You can find out more about her here.