Have you ever felt as though you’ve had one disruption in your life after the next? Where just one event or decision triggered an avalanche that quickly brought things out of your control? Not having control is what has happened to me this past year. From February 1st-June 15th, we were displaced from our home, because it had to be lifted from storm damage created by Hurricane Sandy. We didn’t realize how this one event would snowball into many turbulent situations. Others in the same situation have similar stories to tell. One woman, while her house was being raised became depressed. They lost all of their possessions; she had to undergo surgery, and when she finally recovered, and they were allowed back into their home, her husband passed away unexpectedly.
Thank God, ours wasn’t that challenging, but it was difficult. Our two boys didn’t handle things well and got into some trouble. My health and thyroid disease got out of wack, my husband’s health did the same with his diverticulitis and landed him in the ER, and almost every worker at our house had an issue. Our contractor decided to disappear for a month leaving us in uncomfortable, compromised living conditions. The painter unbeknownst to us was an alcoholic who fell off the wagon. He became intoxicated under our noses and threatened violence to one of our sons and had to be replaced. Another worker was on top of our roof and got stung by a bee in his mouth and was allergic, so his entire face swelled, and he had trouble talking. Another worker found himself unable to move dirt from one part of our yard to the other and spent hours explaining why and none of it made any sense. In the time, he spent making excuses he could have had it completed, packed up and on his way. Our Mason decided to mix water with our carefully chosen colored concrete. Something you are never supposed to do because it destroys the color now instead of having brown that matches our decking we have an undesired “pink!” Then to top it all off, our daughter pregnant with her second child is having complications with her pregnancy. Our electrician said that if we had been filming this house lift from the beginning we would have been picked up for a reality show on television because it is all hilarious. Perhaps, you’ve been there yourselves. Feeling as though you’ve jumped from the frying pan into the fire, and you can relate to the fact that it isn’t easy.
God sometimes tries to get our attention by bringing us to our knees in some situations. I have a tendency to want things under my control, of course, God has other designs. He doesn’t want us to take control he wants us to surrender our will for His. I know this, but it is easier said than done, so God has a way of forcing my hand when he is trying to teach me something. I have finally surrendered.
Sometimes we think our faith is strong and stable, and it isn’t until difficult times that we can see that we are weaker than we thought. Monsignor Phil from our parish gave an excellent homily last week that brought this more to light for me. He explained our faith in two categories.
- Inherited faith~ Many people are born into their faith such as cradle Catholics. Just because we are born into a particular faith doesn’t necessarily make us someone who is living out the faith with real Christian values. If we look at the young adult community, we will see this most prominently. Many do not attend worship services or see the value in such practices. They consider themselves non-affiliated with any religious institution, but they believe in God from their inherited faith.
2. Personal self-discovery faith~is faith found from a personal encounter with Jesus, which brings works of charity and sacrifice of love. It is in this personal relationship that the Holy Spirit educates us in wisdom. It is wisdom achieved not from school, but from spending time at the feet of the master, Jesus Christ.
I don’t know about you, but I can get into trouble with my personal self-discovery faith. Like Martha I just want to do, do, do and my doing leads me to take more control and like the events mentioned above God has to put me in my place. Much like Martha did until Jesus put her in her place. Good works should not take the place of personal intimacy with Jesus. Mary got it right resting in His lap soaking in all that she could and then serving good works.
Putting God first and trusting Him to make things right, always makes things right. We mean well, we just slip up sometimes, and difficult times can often remind us of what is most important. It is through challenges that we are grounded in the faith. Here is a scripture passage which is a good reminder for us during difficult times, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
Sometimes when we lose control of our lives we gain something much greater!
FYI, next week, I will be at the WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES in Philadelphia. I will be working it as well as participating in it and for those of you who can not be there I will be sharing my experience with you through this blog. I ask you to please pray for the people God places in my path and me. We have a special event planned that also needs your prayers.
May God continue to bless each of you. Until next time, Pax et Bonum.