Growing up in the Texas panhandle, my family drove many miles across wide open spaces for vacations or to visit family. My brother would read and I would sleep. My grandmother sat between us to keep the peace in the backseat. After a while the monotony of the miles would take its toll, and one of us would start the eternal questions: “Are we there yet?” “How much longer?” We were impatient passengers along for the ride.
“How long will you keep us in suspense?” In today’s reading the Jews express impatience as well. “If you are the Messiah, just tell us plainly.” Some commentaries mention that this is less a question than a statement of irritation: “How long are you going to annoy us like this? End all of this cryptic nonsense and just tell us what we want to know.”
Along my spiritual journey I cried out to God in impatience: “How much longer, God?” ; in fear: “Where are you, God?” ; in anger: “Why this? Why now?” Many times I obliviously missed the answers to my questions. Caught up in the turmoil I failed to take the moments of silence to listen for the answers. Like the Jews who question Jesus, perhaps I have heard the answer but failed to believe or did not receive the answer I desired.
Along life’s journeys, questions will rise within us. If we are honest with ourselves we will find the courage to ask the question. In trusting the process, we will hear the response in faith.
God, open our hearts and our minds to ask questions; give us the patience and wisdom to wait for and understand the answers. Amen.