I may have shared this with you before – but my mother was seriously considering entering religious life as a sister – when her cousin set up a blind date with his friend - who then became my father.
Lucky for all of us my mother accepted the date.
My older brother met his wife when they were paired off in a wedding.
My older sister met her husband because they both worked in the same building. . .
It’s one of those questions I always ask couples when they come for marriage preparation: how did the two of you meet. . .
These days a lot of them will answer - we met on line. . .
My mother really was not that taken by my father on their first date – but my father was persistent in his pursuit. That’s a story I often hear from couples – that one or the other was not all that interested at first – but someone was persistent and eventually won the other over.
Sometimes good things just take time. . .
At some level, we know that already. If you’ve tried to learn how to play a musical instrument - you know that persistence is necessary - that’s why I don’t play the clarinet these days – because I wasn’t persistent in learning it.
And practicing an instrument cuts into one’s free time. But, it’s only by sticking with it that the breakthrough occurs - and one not only can play an instrument - but also become good at it.
Sometimes good things just take time.
Like learning a new sport. Adjusting to a new job. Beginning a new class. Or moving to a new school . . .
There are countless examples of things that have much better outcomes the more we stay with them, the more we try, the more we persevere, the more we don’t give up.
All three of our readings give us an example of this.
Our first, from the Book of Exodus - tells of Moses doing all he can to keep the staff of God raised as he watched the Israelites in battle.
He became tired. He was struggling to keep his arms up. Yet, with the help of Aaron and Hur – Moses kept at it - and so, the Israelites were victorious.
Now try not to attempt to figure out how this worked - that’s not really the point of the story. The point of the story is God can get people through any and all things – including going up against a much bigger and experienced army.
In St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy – we hear Paul encouraging Timothy in his faith – urging him:
“Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient.”
And in St. Luke’s Gospel - we hear Jesus’ story of the persistent widow – she had no one else to watch out for her – so she had to convince an unjust judge to render a just decision on her behalf.
The judges decision was based on the fact that she just kept “bothering” him – so you have to hand it to her –she never gave up - and good things happened.
Sometimes good things just take time.
Believing this: that persistence pays off, is much easier to embrace when it comes to the concrete things of everyday life.
We’re persistent - and we get the spouse.
We’re persistent - and we get the degree.
We’re persistent: and we learn the instrument, we win the game, we adjust to the new school.
Put another way, when it comes to certain things in life, we can see the fruits clearly - see the results of our persistence - and this can encourage us even more.
But faith – persistence in faith is a bit different – because we don’t see as God sees. We don’t understand as God does. We don’t always see the whole picture. . .
And we don’t always know exactly “what caused what” – don’t always understand exactly how our persistence in our spiritual lives has actually made a difference in our lives – and in those around us.
So we pray, anyway. We give, anyway. We trust, anyway. We forgive, anyway. We hope, anyway. . . And we love, in spite of anything – we love with a deep sense that all of these things are the RIGHT thing to do – the best thing we can do - sometimes the only thing we can do – IF we want to remain faithful. . .
And most importantly, we don’t give up – whether we can clearly see the fruits or not – whether we know precisely what God is up to, or not – whether things turn out the way we want to, or not.
Those things ultimately aren’t important – but staying faithful is. Staying on the right path, narrow though it be - is important. And staying in conversation with our loving God, no matter what - is important.
And you know what? The amazing thing is – when we are faithful – good things will happen. Because sometimes good things just take time.
Moments in time...