The following quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer is both insightful and challenging. I was especially struck by his assessment that a propensity to doubt and incessantly re-evaluate why we are traversing a particular course is often spurred on by an aversion to the patience and testing being required of us in a time of difficulty. The very patience and testing that we are told to expect and joyfully embrace as followers of Christ. I am all too guilty of this as a homeschool mom.
“I’m not quite sure how, we have largely got into a way of thinking which is positively dangerous. We think that we are acting particularly responsibly if every other week we take another look at the question whether the way on which we have set out is the right one. It is particularly noticeable that such a ‘responsible reappraisal’ always begins the moment serious difficulties appear. We then speak as though we no longer had ‘a proper joy and certainty’ about this way, or, still worse, as though God and his Word were no longer as clearly present with us as they used to be. In all this we are ultimately trying to get round what the New Testament calls ‘patience’ and ‘testing.’ Paul, at any rate, did not begin to reflect whether his way was the right one when opposition and suffering threatened, nor did Luther. They were both quite certain and glad that they should remain disciples and followers of their Lord.
“Dear brethren, our real trouble is no doubt about the way upon which we have set out, but our failure to be patient, to keep quiet. We still cannot imagine that today God really doesn’t want anything new for us, but simply to prove us in the old way. That is too petty, too monotonous, too undemanding for us. And we simply cannot be constant with the fact that God’s cause is not always the successful one, that we really could be ‘unsuccessful’: and yet be on the right road. But this is where we find out whether we have begun in faith or in a burst of enthusiasm.”
The truth is I don’t like waiting patiently for my children to develop the character I think they should have right now. I don’t like being tested in my resolve by their complaints and resistance to the instruction and assignments I work so hard to plan and impart to them. I don’t like the petty monotony of addressing the same issues day after day after day…
The higher truth, though, is that this is the path of faith that God has called me to walk. Faithfully, patiently training and discipling my children to seek the Lord and love Him with all their hearts. When my patience is tried and difficulties abound, rather than shrinking back and succumbing to doubts and the escapism of reassessing my path, I want to lay aside all of these weights and instead run with endurance the race that is set before me (Hebrews 12:1).