All of us encounter difficulty in our lives, whether it's with our jobs, relationships, physical ailments ... And all of us - especially those who place their faith at the center of their lives - wonder "Why is this happening?".
We're always told at Mass God is listening, Jesus is walking with us during our difficult time. But when we're going through a really rough patch it can be difficult to believe things will get better soon. Not all of us hear a voice booming from Heaven, saying "Hang of for three more days, then it will be great!". Not all of us have the privilege of seeing the Virgin Mary, as do the Medjugorje visionaries, to console and encourage us during our tough times. Ever wonder why, when these tough things happen, we feel a little alone?
I'm not an authority, but I really think God allows us to face challenges as our way of drawing closer to Him.
I've had many moments in my 31 years during which I felt up against a wall. Frustrated, scared, not sure what will come next. And what I've come to understand is that if I turn to prayer and faith (the "X" factor) in prayer, I will not only be heard (we always are), but that moment when things get better will be this awesome, tear-jerking moment when I realize God did listen. God was helping me. He didn't just let me figure this out. He had a plan, and looking back at how the problem was solved, I can see how. It just took time. It was on God's time, not mine. And now I understand. And now I know where to turn the next time I have a problem.
Believe me, it's not an overnight conversion to total belief. I think God presents us with big challenges and then, at times, little challenges that are easier for us, to help us take small steps toward total faith in Him.
Enjoy today's reflection. And if you feel during difficult times in your life you don't quite have 100% faith it will work out, begin to believe. God will carry you through.
Surrender yourselves to God
In this weekly message, Our Lady speaks of surrender:
Dear children, I invite you to decide completely for God. I beseech you, dear children, to surrender yourselves totally, and then you will be able to live everything I have been telling you. Truly, it will not be difficult for you to surrender yourselves to God in this way (WM 1-2-86).
Surrender to God presupposes faith and trust, which Jesus asks of Nicodemus - and us:
Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen: yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? (Jn 3:11-12).
Reflection: Surrender to God means trusting him enough to carry our problems, worries, relationships, and joys. It means falling backwards into his arms, like the game a child might play with his parents. This trust usually comes by degrees rather than all at once, but it still requires an element of risk. Are we getting better in taking a risk on God?
Application: Today, offer the following Prayer of Abandonment; you may wish to pray it each day this week as a special gift of yourself to the Lord.
Father, I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you;
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve and with boundless confidence
For you are my Father.
- Charles de Foucauld