A few years ago, when we were visiting the Fathers of Mercy and talking to one of their novices about the new chapel they were building, I asked when it was supposed to be finished. "In God's time," he told me.
I suppose I've heard the expression before, but when I heard it that time, it stuck with me. Things don't happen on my plan or your plan, but in God's time.
I'm not terribly patient most of the time. I want things and I want them now. I rush. I fret. But once in a while, I see a little lesson peeking out at me about how I have little control over the timing of anything.
Most recently, I had one of those little revelations through the experience of potty training. Yes, some how I saw a glimmer of God's timing whilst sitting next to a toilet, reading to my three year old and bribing him with chocolates.
This summer, I decreed that my 2 1/2 year old would be potty trained. I was tired of changing diapers on a kid who could bring me diapers and wipes and tell me when he was in need of rash cream. We went for about a week. I was full of hope that his ability to perform on the toilet would translate to actual training. However, he never gained control of those functions, nor seemed to notice the need to go. We had a lot of messy accidents and I gave up. Not the right time.
Last week, my seven year old decreed that we should try again. She took her brother off to the toilet, fetched underwear from the drawer and we were trying again. After a few wet accidents, it clicked. I found him taking himself to the bathroom. He tells me when he needs to go most of the time and the mess and difficulty has been minimal. I hadn't intended to bother trying to train him until the weather was warmer. It wasn't my idea or my timing, but it worked.
I had waited and when a small voice (or actually not so small -- my seven year old is quite loud) pushed us forward things worked as they hadn't before.
Now I'm certainly not suggesting that my seven year old is the voice of God, but something prompted her to start this project when I refused to pay attention. And I don't even know whether God cares when I potty train my children. But learning to wait and be patient is certainly necessary training for Christians and in waiting for my son to be ready to advance, I had to practice waiting and remember that my schedule isn't always the best one.
So many things, from the little ones like potty training to the big ones like the lovely Divine Mercy Chapel are not completed (or at least not easily) in our time -- only in God's.