The Mystery of Patience with God

Many people started new hobbies or interests during the lockdown. They learned how to sew; they made home improvements; they even watched new genres of shows. I myself had two new obsessions: plants and mystery novels. I now have over 37 plants in my home office. It is a veritable forest in here, and I love it. My other obsession is quite a bit cheaper–I’ve read over forty Agatha Christie novels. My favorite is the Hercule Poirot series set just after World War 2. Hercule is quite a character–short, dressed immaculately, with his egg-shaped head, he is a lover of order and logic. He is often, though not always, accompanied by his friend Captain Hastings who is the opposite of Hercule. 

Hercule Will Not Fail

Where Hercule is short and serious, Captain Hastings is tall and extremely sociable. Hercule rests on logic where Captain Hastings experiences life emotionally. Despite their differences, Hercule relies upon Captain Hastings as a friend and also for his different perspective. Captain Hastings values and respects Hercule, but he absolutely does not understand him. Hercule loves to collect all the bits of information that he feels is valuable without explaining why and then reveals the solution to the problem in one dramatic demonstration. As a reader, I find myself more in relation to Captain Hastings and his confusion than Hercule and his brilliance, but I still liked to try and figure things out. It is a joyful exercise though because I am confident that the answer will be revealed. I know Hercule will not fail. 

Mystery novels are a lot like life. In a mystery novel, a tragedy has occurred. The characters look for justice and for truth, but they do not have what is needed to solve the problem. Their understanding is limited, and they need outside help to see clearly. In real life, we experience the same. We all struggle to look for truth and justice in a world that seems heartless at times. However, we know that we don’t have everything we need to solve the puzzle of life and pain. We need help. The one difference, however, is that we have to have continual patience for our grand finale. We must live in medias res, without the resolution coming soon. 

Impatience Started in the Garden

We are not a patient people either. Sure, we can blame it on the instant society that we live in–a world of microwaves, TV on demand, and access to all the information in the world in our pocket. However, impatience has been a part of being human from the very beginning. In fact, it is a part of our downfall. 

When God placed Adam and Eve in a place of paradise, He gave them only one rule.  He even told them why they should follow it .  For a while, things are going well, and they enjoyed a charmed life free from sickness and pain, with sweet fellowship with God.  And then Satan comes on the scene.  Satan addresses Eve and begins by asking a simple question (my paraphrase):  “Did God really say you should not eat from any tree in the garden?”  Eve responds to correct him by saying “Not at all!  We are allowed to eat from any tree, but we are forbidden to eat or touch this one or we will die.”  She added a rule here that wasn’t communicated earlier.  The focus is now on the forbidden. 

Satan outright contradicts God next by saying “You will not die.  God doesn’t want you to eat of this tree because He knows that if you do, you will be like Him.” In other words, God doesn’t truly want the best for you.  He’s holding out on you.  His love is limited. And that poisonous arrow hit its mark. It wasn’t much of a leap for Eve to go from this idea that God doesn’t truly love her to disobedience that had consequences far beyond her reckoning. 

Impatience Takes the Shortcut

The offer here was that she would have wisdom–the knowing of good and evil.  The clincher is that if she had resisted the temptation (and continued to resist it every day), she would have learned wisdom and the knowledge of good and evil not by giving in to evil, but by fighting it.  The wisdom was always within her reach, but instead of doing it God’s way and waiting on His timing, she took the shortcut and ruined it all. 

Eve, and every one of us, struggle to wait for things to unfold according to God’s plan. Instead, we want to control the outcome so that we don’t have to wait. Waiting is scary. Waiting means trusting that despite the tragedies of life that there is a plan and that all will be revealed in the end. This waiting and not knowing causes us all great anxiety.

God Will Not Fail

We cannot help but feel the tension of the unresolved areas of our lives and in the lives of others, but we must imitate our brothers and sisters of faith in Hebrews 11 and be those who trust that the God whom we serve has a plan that can be trusted. It is no accident that in the definition of faith, we are presented examples of those who were patient, even when they didn’t get what they were expecting or hoping for.  Their faith was in God, and they chose to trust Him. We may be as baffled as Captain Hastings who watches Hercule Poirot, but we can be even more confident that God, like Hercule, will not fail. 

Tatyana Claytor
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