The first reading today was thought provoking for me. It’s a story from when the Israelites were traveling through the desert and were getting frustrated (Numbers 21:4-9). There was one verse within the reading that I tuned into at Mass this morning: “the people’s patience was worn out by the journey.” Because of their lack of patience the people complained to Moses and were punished by God. Eventually, they came around and asked for forgiveness and the problems were resolved. (Read the story, my summation doesn’t really do it justice.)
I was particularly aware of the verse I quoted above because that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. I’ve been overwhelmed with everything happening in my life: my grandma being in and out of the hospital and rehab centers, visiting the sisters, work, family, friends, and everything else that I am involved in. Yesterday it got to a point where I was sitting in adoration completely at a loss of how to continue with all of this baggage. I felt the weight of the journey like the Israelites in the reading. And in that moment I complained to God. I told Him I didn’t know how I was going to keep going. I wondered how much longer I would be on this journey. I wanted to go back to how things were before. Just like the Israelites, I dreamed of better days. I sat in that despair for awhile. Eventually, after my holy hour was done, I got up, moved on, and continued on with my day. But those thoughts continued to circle in my mind.
And then I went to Mass this morning and heard this reading. I’ve been reflecting on it all day and it reminded me of a couple things. First of all, I’m not the only one to lose my patience and want to go back. There is an immense comfort in knowing that. Secondly, and more importantly, the reading reminded me that God is with me in all of this, just like He was with the Israelites. As soon as they decided to turn to Him, He helped them. It is the same way with me. At the very second I allow the Lord into my life, into my problems, He will help me. Lastly, I was reminded by the homily at Mass this morning, that it is important to keep the goal in mind when we come to these kind of dilemmas. It’s a lot easier to remain patient when we know why we need to.
We are all on a journey. We may not be on a 40 year journey through the desert to the promise land like the Israelites, but we are on a 40 day journey to Easter. And even when Lent is over, we are all on a journey to Heaven. Our goal is to become saints, to make it to Heaven, to spend eternity with the Lord. It is important that we learn to persevere in the difficult times by depending on the graces that the Lord gives us. We must be patient and allow Him to work in our lives. We must be so motivated by our goal that we can bear all things, knowing that God is with us and that He will help us bear whatever may come. I pray I may become more patient and persevere so that one day I will be with the Lord in Heaven.