Vale of TearsWhen Impatience Sets in
When Impatience Sets In
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.3
In the days before steam power, anyone crossing the oceans had to be prepared for times when lack of wind caused progress to be measured more by the centimetre than the kilometre. Prolonged periods of being becalmed did not, of course, usually prevent the ship from reaching its destination.
When something precious comes to an end, we may find ourselves tempted to slump into the slough of despond. Alternatively, we may want to throw ourselves into new projects or relationships, as if to reassure ourselves that we still have a role to play, or that we can still sustain an intimate relationship. All such feelings are entirely understandable – but it is as well to realise that impatience at this point can not only lead us into real danger, but can also cause us to miss out on other things the Lord has in mind for us.
At a subconscious level what may be happening is that we are trying to “get our own back” on the Lord for allowing such losses to come our way.
We are usually aware deep down, however, that our temptation to throw ourselves into some potentially short-term relationship may be nothing more than an attempt to compensate for the loss we have experienced. We must give God time to find His own unique way to fill the hole that has been left behind.
Some men plunge too quickly into new relationships in order to fulfil their own needs and sense of loneliness, but in the process leave their children feeling as though this new relationship “invalidates” the original marriage. At the very time when the children are still profoundly grieving the mother they have just seen taken from them, they feel now as though they are losing their father too.
It is important to remember that many psychologists consider adolescence to continue until the age of twenty five – in which case it would be a mistake to think that it is only young children who are affected by such decisions. In extreme cases lasting damage can be inflicted, causing the children to doubt all loving relationships, as well as the accuracy of their childhood recollections. There are no formulas here; only a great need to be led by the Spirit and careful in our communication.