God at the Root of Patience

patience - fishingSometimes I find myself in a rush, desperately trying to accomplish as much as possible, as efficiently as possible. While high energy and my naturally fast pace fit well in today’s American culture, this “productive” lifestyle has a downside that took years for me to realize: distance from God.

Patience usually requires cultivation, because few of us are born patient. Witness any infant: instantly demanding when the slightest discomfort arises. Yet experiencing the peace that comes with patience stirred my own awareness and desire toward becoming more patient. This involved no small amount of personal surrender, because it was obvious that alone I was incapable of mastering this virtue. I needed God’s help.

When considering the concept of patience, the words “slow,” “calm,” and “accepting” quickly come to mind. I am drawn to consider more deeply because clearly there’s more—an underlying aspect of patience that these immediate words miss entirely. Ultimately, God is at the root of patience, so this deeper aspect must be revealed slowly, as I’m capable of understanding. Patience is based on deep trust in God. More than simply a willful or virtuous act, patience is a posture of heart that embraces the conviction that God’s timing is far more important than my own. As Teilhard de Chardin reminds us: “Above all, trust in the slow work of God.” When I trust God’s perfect timing, my inner peace remains intact, even when confronted with delays or a slow pace of action or progress. I remember that God is in control, and God knows what he’s doing.

At last, I’ve come to realize that God’s “slow work” is where his best masterpieces lie, for time is often an ally where creation is concerned. The world in all its magnificence surely takes time for my human brain to behold, so naturally God reveals its intricacies slowly. God invites me to embrace this virtue of patience, giving me numerous opportunities to practice it. When I follow God’s lead, at God’s pace, the payoff is huge: experiencing God’s ever-deepening nearness.

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Cindy Ristroph
Cindy Ristroph opted for the vocations of wife and mother when her children were young, and only looked back to her former engineering career to rekindle relationships. She shifted the focus of her volunteering from schools to church when she and her husband became empty nesters. Active in many parish ministries, Cindy tries to follow wherever God leads, often well beyond her comfort zone. She delights in being amazed by our God of surprises, especially through her family, the night sky, and inspirational music.


  1. The ebb and flow of intention, action, and patience is a complete cycle. Growth happens when I trust God. Fears, anxieties, frustrations dissipate dissolve and fade away. Love grows. Peace expands. Thank you for the great share.

  2. Thank you for your reflection, Cindy. I experienced God’s slow work over 20 years ago when my marriage hit a bad patch. I really believed that my husband no longer loved me or believed in our marriage. (This from a couple who had been through Marriage Encounter and were “pillars of our church”). For over five years, I relied on a belief that God would restore the marriage, but often I felt like Moses wandering in the desert. While my spouse wouldn’t work on our/his issues, I worked on my own issues and prayed over the marriage in a series of letters which began “Dear Jesus.” As I became stronger in my faith, I became stronger, more self-confident and more aware of God’s presence in my life–I recognized I was a daughter of God. I received what I needed to address the relationship issues, which ultimately led to resolution. No kidding, it took years. My husband and I celebrated our 45th anniversary this year, and it was so much sweeter and richer than the 25th was– the way that batch of wine Jesus served at Cana was so much better than the first round. Miracles and process can’t be rushed.

  3. Thank you for this informative article. I have been im-patient for 76 years. Sadly, the older I get the more impatient I get. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. !O

  4. ‘God at the Root of Patience’…Even your title is well worth pondering. Thank you for pointing out how our busy lives can squeeze out God. Your beautifully written article is a reminder to slow down and open up some space for me to be with God. I notice this is your first article. May graces abound as a result it and may we be blessed by many more. In gratitude, Jay

  5. Patience and surrender are tied together. Neither are easy to accomplish and daily prayer and reflection help, I think.

  6. One of the finest thoughts on Patience that I have read.
    “Patience is based on deep trust in God. More than simply a willful or virtuous act, patience is a posture of heart that embraces the conviction that God’s timing is far more important than my own.”
    Very well spoken!

  7. I needed to read this today. I, also am high energy, and try to accomplish so much in a day.. My husband has become severely debilitated and ill over the past year, and it has forced me to slow down, and accept, and try to gain more patience. I have begun going to early mass every day, and find that God does give me the strength to slowly get through these extremely difficult times.

  8. So true, trust and patience goes hand in hand leaning into the slow work of God and resting in that space of his being.

  9. Thank you for this post Cindy. I find St Teresa of Avila’s prayer helpful in this regard:
    Let nothing disturb you
    Let nothing frighten you
    All things are passing away.
    Patience obtains all things
    Whoever has God lacks nothing
    God alone suffices.

    • Thanks for the connection, Angela. St. Teresa’s prayer is part of every morning. Praying it often helps toward improving my ‘default’ response – still much work to do there!


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