God's Timing

You may or may not know that most marriages in India are arranged by the family. The decision to marry someone is not the privilege of the individual but the result of a collective process in which the family, especially the parents, have the maximum input. After raising their child to adulthood, parents feel it is their duty to find a life partner for their offspring. In fact, mothers and fathers consider it their right to settle their children in life. In some families the child in question has very little effect on the final outcome. Sometimes I jokingly say that I became a priest in order to avoid an arranged marriage.

I have ten nieces and nephews, and most of them have reached the age when parents start getting anxious about settling them down. My younger sister, Rita, was worried about her daughter, Arthi, finding the right mate. As soon as my niece turned 23, my sister’s anxiety went into high gear. She registered her daughter on several matrimonial websites which are all run by local parishes or the diocese. Seven years ago, sometime before Christmas there was a proposal from a family. The young man was of good character, had a good job, sported average looks and hailed from a good family. My sister and brother-in-law were very excited. They were hopeful that the proposal would turn into a wedding. Unfortunately for reasons unknown to us the whole thing fell apart and my sister was crushed.

Every time I would talk to my sister after that, I tried to console her and asked her to trust in the Lord. My sister usually agreed with me but deep down she was not happy with the Lord. She would keep complaining that so many proposals show initial promise but all of them fizzle out. She was even fearful that her daughter might not find a worthy suitor.

Then about five years ago, out of the blue, a family from another part of India contacted my sister’s family. They visited my sister’s family with their son. That first meeting led to further meetings and discussions, and as a result a firm proposal was made. My niece liked the guy and he liked her. Within three weeks, the whole matter was settled. Probably you are all shocked how anyone could come to such a momentous decision so quickly. Well, that is how marriages are arranged for the most part. I went to India in February 2013 to celebrate the wedding of my first nephew and during that visit I also celebrated the engagement of my niece. She was married sometime in June, of course by me. Just a month ago that niece gave birth to a beautiful little girl named Gianna Marie.

The other day I was reminding my sister, Rita, of how she did not believe me when I said that God would come through. She told me that she was even mad at the Lord. She acknowledged that she fought with God. Now she sees it all clearly. He had a plan for my niece and would reveal it when the time was right. As humans we are always in a hurry. Often we are not respectful of God’s timing.

There is a great story in the First Book of Samuel regarding the birth of Samuel, one of the leaders of Israel. The mother of Samuel, Hannah, was barren. Her barrenness was a reproach for her and she complained to God. She even went into the Temple early one morning and poured out her anguish in the Lord’s presence. Little did she know that God would give her a son and that son would become one of the greatest leaders of Israel! Samuel shaped the history of God’s people very powerfully, and he was the one to anoint the first king of Israel as well as the second king, David. If Hannah knew how it would all turn out, she would not have complained.

How often all of us are like Hannah and like my little sister! We get anxious that things will not turn out to our best advantage. We do not trust in God’s timing. We like things to change or happen according to our schedule. When we put our trust in God, we need to trust also His timing. He knows when it is the right time.

I heard that in one of his daily homilies, Fr Muraya, our former associate pastor, shared the following reflection. I hope I am paraphrasing his words correctly. This is what he said. When we pray and ask God for something, God can answer us in one of three ways: 1. Yes; 2. No; and 3. Not now. So many times I have seen it in my own life. God says that it is not the right time for something to take place. Sometime later it all works out. I need to be patient.

Let us put our complete trust in our God who loves us immensely. Let us trust not only in His love but also in His timing. Let us believe in the words of Paul in his Letter to the Romans: “Everything works unto good for those who love God.” Let us put everything in His hands as we journey through this New Year.

God bless!

Mission Statement: As children of God, living in a Catholic community of faith, we are united by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Aware that all we have is gift and grace from our Heavenly Father, we strive to give of our time, talent and treasure to build His kingdom on earth. We live this mission, challenged by the Word, nurtured by the Sacraments, and enlivened by the Spirit, to serve our brothers and sisters in peace, justice and dignity. All are welcome on this journey.

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