Can You Hear Me, God?
Can you hear me, God? I have a strong faith. I know He always hears me, yet my prayers do not always get answered the way I want them answered. And when they consistently don’t, I get bouts of being fed up and annoyed with the Big Guy. Then remorse for being spoiled brat kicks in and I repent for my pride and selfishness, but then I complain again. It can be a vicious circle sometimes. But God has broad shoulders.
My father-in-law Donald was diagnosed with cancer before Christmas this year. The doctors sent him for a biopsy. We were concerned yet hopeful. I prayed more rosaries and Divine Mercy Chaplets for him than I can count. While in Church during an inane homily, I chose to pray the rosary for him rather than getting annoyed. As I was praying I heard in my mind Our Lady say to me, “I will shrink it.” I was praying with a new set of beads from Medjugorje. Knowing of all the miracles that occur on that hill in Medjugorje where Our Lady appears I was hopeful that perhaps praying with these beads might be a special connection to that miraculous place. I was so happy and excited I told my wife about it. We felt encouraged. The first test came back, no cancer. We were elated, what a great Christmas gift. Perhaps a miracle occurred. The pall was lifted and we felt happy. Then the second test came back. Lung cancer. The happiness left us. As always we resolved to keep praying and trusting and savoring the gifts and blessings we have. Especially the people we have in our lives. Christmas was coming and the best gift of all is Jesus, the Light, and Life of the world.
No Quick Fixes
As I write this it is Christmas morning. Last night I was watching the old movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”. If you read my previous essays you may notice I often share lessons I learn from these great old movies. I realized something while watching this movie last night. God doesn’t take the easy way out. George Bailey was contemplating suicide because his uncle lost the $8000 of deposits for their building and loan company. George would be put in jail. As he was considering jumping off a bridge, Clarence, his guardian angel jumped off first knowing George would selflessly jump in to save him. Clarence revealed his identity to George and George’s response was to sarcastically ask for the $8000. Most people know the rest of the story. George wishes he was never born. His wish is granted and he sees how many people’s lives he affected in positive ways. He was shown how his absence impacted so many people. At the end of the movie, all the people he ever helped came through for him. They raised more than the $8000 they needed. The old building and loan were saved. George didn’t have to go to jail. Clarence got his wings and the movie ends with everyone singing. I remarked to my wife that all Clarence had to do was give George the $8000 and they could have avoided all that turmoil. But that is not how God works.
Oh Happy Fault
God seems to take His time. He chooses to do things the hard way sometimes. One day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day to God. We may feel that God takes His time, but He is never late. He is always right on time. I meditate on the lives of the prophets when things are not going smoothly. The Bible is chock full of instances where God’s people must endure trials and tribulations. No one in their right mind enjoys them. But those with spiritual wisdom know how to profit from them. God pulls out the good from the bad. We need spiritual eyes to see this. For example, the fall of Adam and Eve can be seen by some as one of the worst things that ever happened. St. Augustine looks at it as the Happy Fault without which the Word may not have become flesh.
I often heard it said of great leaders that they would never ask any of their subordinates to do something they themselves wouldn’t do. That is true of God. I hate when people say that God sends you no more than you can handle or those evil occurrences, sickness, sadness are God’s will. God does not and they are not! I know because God tells us in Scripture that He wants only the best for us. Jeremiah 29:11 declares that God has great plans for us, for our welfare not for evil but for good. So I never subscribe to the platitude “its God’s will for us” when something bad happens. Rather I understand that as Scripture instructs us in Romans 8:28 that God brings good out of all things.
We really cannot complain to God. He is the greatest of all leaders. He suffered like we suffer for our Salvation. The Lord Himself chose to enter the world to become flesh to experience what we experience. We could never say to Jesus, “Lord You don’t understand, you never suffered this or that…” Yes, He did.
I hate that song ‘What if God Was One of Us.’ Newsflash: He is! He experienced everything we did except sin. Could He have redeemed us another way? Yes, He could have. But why all the pain and sorrow? I do not pretend to understand it; I don’t. All I know is that He loves us so much He chose to redeem us in pain and sorrow. He did not spare Himself from suffering the same fate that we ourselves must go through because of sin.
When I started writing this I thought I would have some profound revelation for you. I don’t. We all experience the trials and tribulations of life. No one gets out of this world alive. We will all die one day. I believe in miracles. I know that God hears all our prayers. He doesn’t answer all of them the way we want them answered and maybe sometimes that is a good thing.
No Pain No Gain
Nothing evil comes from God. I hate it when people say ‘God must be testing you’. He doesn’t need to test me. He knows where I will fail and where I will succeed. It is about us learning and growing.
I recently joined the gym. I dropped about 17 pounds and work out several times a week. I get home late from work and even though I don’t feel like going to the gym I push myself. The sacrifice is paying off. The aches and pains of a workout are ultimately to my benefit. My body is becoming more and more chiseled. My stamina is increasing and I feel great. I haven’t felt this great in 30 years physically, mentally and emotionally. Yes, I experience pain from injuries I sustained in a car accident, especially when it rains. I sometimes feel bloated or stiff. I feel exhausted after 13-hour workday. Yet that phrase ‘no pain no gain’ keeps popping into my mind. The same thing can be said of our spiritual life. No pain no gain. With every cross we have to bear, with every tear we have to shed with every hill we have to climb, once done, we are stronger and wiser. If we remember that Jesus is with us, we are never alone. We must keep in mind that we have heavenly helps from our angels and the saints whose constant intercession in His presence we rely on for unfailing help. Unfailing help! They never fail us. Even when we think they do, they don’t. Can You hear me, God? The resounding answer is simply yes.
Lord, I don’t understand Your ways but I believe. I believe that Our Lady assured me of my father in law’s healing. How and in what form that takes place I do not know. But I believe. Will it be a spiritual healing? Will something be lifted from him? Will the cancer be healed? I don’t know, but I trust. I know this life is a wonderful life and I know the next one with God will be great. Depending on our journey, once the physical life ends, the spiritual one may be one of suffering (Purgatory), and learning, praising God and who knows what other great things. I don’t know but I believe. I wish I had something profound to share with you, but alas nothing new under the sun. I am encouraged by the Incarnation of Christ and Christmas is a great time to once again let Christ be born in us so that we may bring Him to the world. I ask you all to please pray for Donald’s healing. God is so good. It truly is a wonderful life. A blessed Christmas to all.