Post 100! A Challenge..rejoice in trials
Devotional thought of the day:
Wow, it’s post 100, averaging some 20 hits, plus those 40 that are subscribed by email. Every continent has seen my blog – including countries that are amazing to me. Some blogs have gotten a ton of hits – the most about my death 20 years ago, some have have only received 3 or 4. I guess, as I look back – some were good (praise God for those) and some…well sucked. (Blame me.) What to talk about on #100? The following quote stuck out in some reading yesterday.
“To follow Christ—that is the secret. We must accompany him so closely that we come to live with him, like the first Twelve did; so closely that we become identified with him…. But do not forget that being with Jesus means we shall most certainly come upon his cross. When we abandon ourselves into God’s hands, he frequently permits us to taste sorrow, loneliness, opposition, slander, defamation, ridicule, coming both from within and from outside. This is because he wants to mold us into his own image and likeness. He even tolerates that we be called lunatics and be taken for fools.” de Prada, Andres Vazquez (2011-04-18). The Founder of Opus Dei: Volume III, The Divine Ways on Earth (The Life of Josemaria Escriva) (Kindle Locations 7632-7638). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
There are days I wish that our Lord wouldn’t permit so many trials in the lives of the people I pastor (whether they are part of my congregation or those…that would be..yet…) TO be honest, it can get very tiring to watch, to spend time in prayer for, to try and stand by their side, (when they let me know they are going through it.) While our confidence is in God, it is in such times that such confidence is shaky, not in God, but in us. Yet the closer we are to Him, the more dependent it seems the more burdens we have to endure, the more challenges we come across…..
As I serve and observe people going through such times, as my heart breaks for them, I have found something out. Theologically speaking, this becomes a “first commandment issue”. Can we let God be God? Can we give to our Father the recognition that He does reign over us, but to accept that in His reigning, it is His responsibility to make these things a blessing, something good for us, even as we do not see it? Can we say, not my will, but thine, realizing that it means we are not just ceding what we are going through, but as well – ceding complete control over how it works out?
That is what Jesus had to do at the cross – ultimately – in His humanity He had to entrust Himself to the Father, and know that it was the Father’s plan to do something wonderful.
In trusting the Father, in the midst of trials, in hearing the Holy Spirit’s comforting voice, in realizing we have been united with Christ’s death and resurrection, the outcome of the trial is one thing we don’t have to concern ourselves with.
And trusting in the Father, knowing His promises, we can dwell in His joy and in His peace…
Knowing that He has promised us life, we can cry, “Lord have mercy!”… and rest in the sure knowledge of His love.