A few weeks ago, I was at a church advocating for adoption when a couple came up to me with questions. At one point the husband became clearly upset and apologized to his wife for what he was about to share. He told me he is very angry at God and at his breaking point. God has taken his only son and continues to allow his daughter to miscarry leaving her barren. He desperately wants to see his daughter blessed with life and wants a Grandchild and doesn’t understand why he is suffering so much loss. As a faithful man doing all that he knows to be right and having bad things happen, he is beginning to lose his faith in the God he always believed in. He asked me why God has allowed all this pain in his life? when will his suffering end? and when will the blessings come?
The age-old questions, as you can imagine he touched my heart deeply and I understood his pain. Suffering and loss are inescapable. God is a mystery and so are his ways but, he ALWAYS brings good out of the bad and in time blessings follow. I don’t believe that God actually tests us but, I do think he will allow suffering to challenge us to the degree that we can measure our own faith. Do we really believe as much as we think we do?
Mathew 17:20 “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
And yet it is, when we are face to face with our faith through suffering what do we see? I’ve found that when I’m put to the test….I am weak. Job was forced to face his beliefs more than anyone in scripture and he was able to endure. He endured, by trusting God and praising him. He didn’t give in to the voices around him encouraging him to stop believing. These voices are traps that are easy for us to fall into. I can remember witnessing the pain and suffering of others traumatized by unexpected life experiences that it shattered their faith and they fell from Grace. They were gradually beaten down until they lost hope and gained despair, depression and sometimes addiction. “There but by the Grace of God go I” and sometimes there, despite the grace of God, go I. Our lives can change with one phone call and in one moment we can easily be in their shoes and when we are, will we have faith to sustain or will it be shattered? Jesus pondered this question as well for He says in Luke 18:8 “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
When we fall, we should drop our pride and embrace the Simon’s in our lives that are willing to help us carry our crosses.
Another help to us in mending our weakened or shattered faith is the Eucharist. To receive in faith the gift of his Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1336). David E. Rosage in the book “The Bread of Life” suggests this,
Jesus wants us to come to the Eucharist
* to nourish, sustain, and strengthen us on our pilgrimage through life.
* to remind us that he is dwelling within us in his risen, glorified life.
* to permit him to fill that longing and desire we have to be united with him.
* to come together with our brothers and sisters to adore, worship, and thank our loving Father.
* to unite ourselves with his high-priestly prayer of praise to the Father.
* to open ourselves to receive the outpouring of his love.
The Eucharist has the power to build our faith and heal our heavy, weary souls. Some life experiences may seem dark and grim with no way out but, the truth is, this situation is only for a season and in time will pass. Don’t stop praying, don’t stop going to mass, embrace the Simon’s in your life, write 5 things your grateful for each day , remind yourself “this too shall pass” and find comfort in this scripture verse:
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:9