When Feeling Impatient or Stagnant
When Things Go Wrong, Chapter 6
by Harry McMullan, III
The impatient person is angry because the tree refuses to bear fruit before due season. Impatience assumes God is not acting fast enough-that we creatures grasp events better than the Creator in whom we live and move and have our being.
Those who do things before their appointed time fail in their endeavors, because conditions conducive to success have not yet been prepared. Acting on faith, however, we cooperate with our all-wise Father's schedule and experience peace in relinquishing responsibility over events beyond our control. We no longer carry so many of earth's weary burdens, and being thus released, are free to work all the harder on the tasks uniquely our own. We cease making personal plans for the lives of others since we are called to love our brothers, not to pressure them to act contrary to their own free will.
Impatience evidences lack of submission to Father's will. The impatient person has his own plan, which seems to him superior to God's. Most lethally, impatience tempts him to seek short-cuts, to do things his way instead of God's. But such hurry-along efforts come to naught, because the multitude of circumstances necessary for their success is not yet in place. Our Father's schedule is supreme, and nothing of true value happens apart from it. God supplies both the power which makes possible, and the pattern for, all lasting accomplishment.
While impatience takes too much action, stagnation¾fearing to live¾does not take enough. Stagnation carries the rutted feeling of being looped in unproductive patterns of living. We linger in such wasteful and monotonous experience out of fear that even if we tried, we would fail to extricate ourselves, and should we by some fluke succeed, life outside the rut would probably be worse. Stagnation's cure is prayer to know God's will, then bold, committed ACTION grounded in faith in God's ability to bring about his perfect will in, through, and for us.
Water becomes stagnant when it doesn't move. Likewise, spiritual atrophy sets in when we fail to risk acting according to our highest concept of God's plan for our lives. Stagnation and impatience are opposite poles of a common problem¾lack of submission to Father's plan. There are times to wait and there are times to act, and those who follow God's spirit are guided as to the proper time in all their actions. Worship and service bind us to the heart of God, provide the spiritual energy for decisive action, and make us increasingly effective in those fields of service to which we are called.
Spiritual stagnation results from failing to seek spiritual truth and pass along what we have received to others. Those who serve can never become stagnant, for Father leads them into ever more challenging and fruitful avenues in which his love can be revealed. Those with surfeit of this world's goods may stave off stagnation by a frenetic procession of ever-changing toys, but in the service of God, even common toil is holy and sacred.
Stagnation bespeaks absence of challenge, which in turn betrays the lack of a living spiritual connection with God, who continually moves us into higher realms of service. We should therefore submit to Father's will and make his plans our own in every particular, trusting in his wisdom and loving-kindness, for apart from him we are nothing.
You must wait, and ascend while you wait, for truly, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the mind of mortal man, the things which the Universal Father has prepared for those who survive the life in the flesh on the worlds of time and space." (11:4.5)
Love of adventure, curiosity, and dread of monotony-these traits inherent in evolving human nature-were not put there just to aggravate and annoy you during your short sojourn on earth, but rather to suggest to you that death is only the beginning of an endless career of adventure, an everlasting life of anticipation, an eternal voyage of discovery.
Curiosity-the spirit of investigation, the urge of discovery, the drive of exploration-is a part of the inborn and divine endowment of evolutionary space creatures. These natural impulses were not given you merely to be frustrated and repressed. True, these ambitious urges must frequently be restrained during your short life on earth, disappointment must be often experienced, but they are to be fully realized and gloriously gratified during the long ages to come. (14:5.10-11)
There is a great and glorious purpose in the march of the universes through space. All of your mortal struggling is not in vain. We are all part of an immense plan, a gigantic enterprise, and it is the vastness of the undertaking that renders it impossible to see very much of it at any one time and during any one life. We are all a part of an eternal project which the Gods are supervising and outworking. The whole marvelous and universal mechanism moves on majestically through space to the music of the meter of the infinite thought and the eternal purpose of the First Great Source and Center.
The eternal purpose of the eternal God is a high spiritual ideal. The events of time and the struggles of material existence are but the transient scaffolding which bridges over to the other side, to the promised land of spiritual reality and supernal existence. . . .
As regards an individual life, the duration of a realm, or the chronology of any connected series of events, it would seem that we are dealing with an isolated stretch of time; everything seems to have a beginning and an end. And it would appear that a series of such experiences, lives, ages, or epochs, when successively arranged, constitutes a straightaway drive, an isolated event of time flashing momentarily across the infinite face of eternity. But when we look at all this from behind the scenes, a more comprehensive view and a more complete understanding suggest that such an explanation is inadequate, disconnected, and wholly unsuited properly to account for, and otherwise to correlate, the transactions of time with the underlying purposes and basic reactions of eternity.
To me it seems more fitting . . . to conceive of eternity as a cycle and the eternal purpose as an endless circle, a cycle of eternity in some way synchronized with the transient material cycles of time. (32:5.1-4)
There is in the mind of God a plan which embraces every creature of all his vast domains, and this plan is an eternal purpose of boundless opportunity, unlimited progress, and endless life. And the infinite treasures of such a matchless career are yours for the striving!
The goal of eternity is ahead! The adventure of divinity attainment lies before you! The race for perfection is on! whosoever will may enter, and certain victory will crown the efforts of every human being who will run the race of faith and trust, depending every step of the way on the leading of the indwelling Adjuster and on the guidance of that good spirit of the Universe Son, which so freely has been poured out upon all flesh. (32:5.7-8)
The consciousness of the spirit domination of a human life is presently attended by an increasing exhibition of the characteristics of the Spirit in the life reactions of such a spirit-led mortal, "for the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance." Such spirit-guided and divinely illuminated mortals, while they yet tread the lowly paths of toil and in human faithfulness perform the duties of their earthly assignments, have already begun to discern the lights of eternal life as they glimmer on the faraway shores of another world; already have they begun to comprehend the reality of that inspiring and comforting truth, "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit." And throughout every trial and in the presence of every hardship, spirit-born souls are sustained by that hope which transcends all fear because the love of God is shed abroad in all hearts by the presence of the divine Spirit. (34:6.13)
To the Adjuster-fused mortal the career of universal service is wide open. What dignity of destiny and glory of attainment await every one of you! Do you fully appreciate what has been done for you? Do you comprehend the grandeur of the heights of eternal achievement which are spread out before you?-even you who now trudge on in the lowly path of life through your so-called "vale of tears"? (40:7.5)
The universe of universes, including this small world called Urantia, is not being managed merely to meet our approval nor just to suit our convenience, much less to gratify our whims and satisfy our curiosity. The wise and all-powerful beings who are responsible for universe management undoubtedly know exactly what they are about; and so it becomes Life Carriers and behooves mortal minds to enlist in patient waiting and hearty co-operation with the rule of wisdom, the reign of power, and the march of progress. (65:5.3)
Never, in all your ascent to Paradise, will you gain anything by impatiently attempting to circumvent the established and divine plan by short cuts, personal inventions, or other devices for improving on the way of perfection, to perfection, and for eternal perfection. (75:8.5)
No matter how much you may grow in Father comprehension, your mind will always be staggered by the unrevealed infinity of the Father-I AM, the unexplored vastness of which will always remain unfathomable and incomprehensible throughout all the cycles of eternity. No matter how much of God you may attain, there will always remain much more of him, the existence of which you will not even suspect. . . . The quest for God is endless! (106:7.5)
Can you really realize the true significance of the Adjuster's indwelling? Do you really fathom what it means to have an absolute fragment of the absolute and infinite Deity, the Universal Father, indwelling and fusing with your finite mortal natures? When mortal man fuses with an actual fragment of the existential Cause of the total cosmos, no limit can ever be placed upon the destiny of such an unprecedented and unimaginable partnership. (107:4.7)
Mind is your ship, the Adjuster is your pilot, the human will is captain. The master of the mortal vessel should have the wisdom to trust the divine pilot to guide the ascending soul into the morontia harbors of eternal survival. Only by selfishness, slothfulness, and sinfulness can the will of man reject the guidance of such a loving pilot and eventually wreck the mortal career upon the evil shoals of rejected mercy and upon the rocks of embraced sin. With your consent, this faithful pilot will safely carry you across the barriers of time and the handicaps of space to the very source of the divine mind and on beyond, even to the Paradise Father of Adjusters. (111:1.9)
When man consecrates his will to the doing of the Father's will, when man gives God all that he has, then does God make that man more than he is. (117:4.14)
The time unit of immaturity concentrates meaning-value into the present moment in such a way as to divorce the present of its true relationship to the not-present-the past-future. The time unit of maturity is proportioned so to reveal the co-ordinate relationship of past-present-future that the self begins to gain insight into the wholeness of events, begins to view the landscape of time from the panoramic perspective of broadened horizons, begins perhaps to suspect the nonbeginning, nonending eternal continuum, the fragments of which are called time. (118:1.8)
The Nazareth carpenter now fully understood the work before him, but he chose to live his human life in the channel of its natural flowing. . . . (128:1.6)
One day when Ganid asked Jesus why he had not devoted himself to the work of a public teacher, he said: "My son, everything must await the coming of its time. You are born into the world, but no amount of anxiety and no manifestation of impatience will help you to grow up. You must, in all such matters, wait upon time. Time alone will ripen the green fruit upon the tree. Season follows season and sundown follows sunrise only with the passing of time. I am now on the way to Rome with you and your father, and that is sufficient for today. My tomorrow is wholly in the hands of my Father in heaven." And then he told Ganid the story of Moses and the forty years of watchful waiting and continued preparation. (130:5.3)
And it was, and is, ever thus. That which the enlightened and reflective human imagination of spiritual teaching and leading wholeheartedly and unselfishly wants to do and be, becomes measurably creative in accordance with the degree of mortal dedication to the divine doing of the Father's will. When man goes in partnership with God, great things may, and do, happen. (132:7.9)
That same evening Jesus made the long-to-be-remembered address to the apostles regarding the relative value of status with God and progress in the eternal ascent to Paradise. Said Jesus: "My children, if there exists a true and living connection between the child and the Father, the child is certain to progress continuously toward the Father's ideals. True, the child may at first make slow progress, but the progress is none the less sure. The important thing is not the rapidity of your progress but rather its certainty. Your actual achievement is not so important as the fact that the direction of your progress is Godward. What you are becoming day by day is of infinitely more importance than what you are today." (147:5.7)
It requires time for men and women to effect radical and extensive changes in their basic and fundamental concepts of social conduct, philosophic attitudes, and religious convictions. (152:6.1)
And then the Master, turning to all of them, said: "Be not dismayed that you fail to grasp the full meaning of the gospel. You are but finite, mortal men, and that which I have taught you is infinite, divine, and eternal. Be patient and of good courage since you have the eternal ages before you in which to continue your progressive attainment of the experience of becoming perfect, even as your Father in Paradise is perfect." (181:2.25)
Do not try to satisfy the curiosity or gratify all the latent adventure surging within the soul in one short life in the flesh. Be patient! be not tempted to indulge in a lawless plunge into cheap and sordid adventure. Harness your energies and bridle your passions; be calm while you await the majestic unfolding of an endless career of progressive adventure and thrilling discovery. (195:5.10)