Waiting For God To Do His Work


Sr. Frances DeMott, I.B.V.M.

Paul plants, Appolos waters, but God gives the growth (1Cor. 3:6). During this New Springtime in the Church in our eagerness we must not go ahead of God nor must we lag behind - but move in unison with him.

There is a time in spring when one can only wait on God for Him to do his work. The ground is still frozen and the sun must make the soil receptive again. We may not remain idle at this time because there are hours of clean-up after the winter winds. Branches have fallen and have to be picked up, ground coverings have to be removed, dead stems and branches have to be cut off from various plants and bushes. We want to be ready for planting when that time comes.

The springtime in our lives also has hours of clean-up to be done; it may come only after God melts the hardness in certain areas of our hearts that we will be able to get rid of the interior winter debris. This new area has to be exposed to the warm rays of His Son who helps us let go of certain deeply rooted habits, sins that we did not recognize before but cause havoc to tender new shoots (virtues) about to protrude into the light.

We who live in the North Country look forward to spring and, like crocuses, can hardly wait for the disappearance of the winter snows. How many times I have seen neighbor after neighbor hacking away with pick and shovel at the last remaining pile of snow hurrying its exit on to the sunny side of the street. But was God not at work during those short days and long cold nights? Of course he was. The daffodils, the tulips and the hyacinths are living proof of this. They had to bear the hardships of winter, the cold blizzards, the ice and sleet, and the deep snow drifts. These Easter blessings, so fresh and crisp, so bright and elegant, so fragrant and fragile could not show forth God's glory if they had not come through their period of testing and trial brought about by the weather.

We, likewise, are not forgotten by God who continues to love us during our days and months of testing and temptations. It is His love that allows us to endure, to wait for His healing, His deliverance, and to come to a new level of union with Him, a deeper level of selflessness, so that we too may become a new creation.

Spring after winter, life after death! Unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies it produces much fruit (Jn 12:24). There is life in the tiny seed buried in the earth. This is another time of waiting after the planting is finished when we keep the weeds to a minimum and under the ground a dying and rising is taking place in each and every seed. Growth and new life is coming about at the designated time set by the Creator.

We too have our dying and rising, our small Good Fridays and Easter Sundays in many varied ways. When we dare, with God's grace, to overcome a newly discovered fault, we fail twice and succeed once, we move forward and stumble, we fight and conquer. We die and rise! A friend leaves her vocation and chooses to walk a different route. A dying takes place within us through that severed vocation. We choose to leave a worldly pleasure seeking the new kind of life Jesus has for us by He being Lord of our life. We will experience a new kind of dying to self and a new rising. Rejoice, for God is at work in us as surely as he is at work in the seeds buried in the soil, as surely as he is at work in those bulbs buried beneath the snow. A loved one dies and we die with them in untold ways. We are a different person after the ordeal but still the same.

When I begin to prepare a space in the yard for a new flower garden I first decide how large I want it to be. Then I take small sections and begin to remove the sod because I don't want to become discouraged at the difficult task set before me. I prepare one small section at a time, then another and another until I have reached my goal.

The Lord wants us to take one fault at a time and work at it diligently until it is eradicated and in its place plant a virtue that in due time will produce abundant fruit. If we plant, if we water, if we weed and look forward with great expectancy we will see the life after death that God will bring forth. We must learn to recognize the waiting period in every stage of growth that God provides. It takes time for a monarch to emerge from its chrysalis. To try to hurry it through the process would be detrimental to it. The same applies to forcing the petals of a blossom to open. When we do, we mar its beauty. The fruit on the tree takes time to ripen.

We must wait on God for these things to happen. Why is it so difficult to allow God to do his work in us? We are his masterpieces and God does not mind taking his time with us. And so we wait for God, we work with God, and wonder with awe at the beauty of God.

From the Diocese of Marquette Michigan, U.P. Catholic Charismatic Newsletter (Summer 2001)