Hey guys, so this last month of life has been really rough. It's been one of those months where you feel like you can't seem to do anything right, like you're failing at life in almost every way. I was texting with a friend who recommended an autobiography about someone who felt like her life did not go the way she hoped in so many ways but how she stayed positive about the whole thing. Our conversation went something like this:
My friend: Hey, have you read this book by Alice Von Hildebrand? It's called Memoirs of a Happy Failure
Me: No, never heard of it
My friend: It's really good... If I ever wrote a memoir, it would probably be called just, Memoirs of a Failure
Me: 😂 yeah, and mine would be just: Failure.
We had a good laugh as we shared about how we both felt we were failing at life. Lol.
I think we all feel this way sometimes. Sometimes, life hits us hard from all directions. Our love life is terrible. Our work life is not going well. Other things in our life are falling apart. We feel we can't seem to do anything right... we wish God would just take it all away this instant and make everything better!
I am currently reading a book called Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussaude, and this quote really struck me:
“You would be very ashamed if you knew what the experiences you call setbacks, upheavals, pointless disturbances, and tedious annoyances really are. You would realize that your complaints about them are nothing more nor less than blasphemies - though that never occurs to you. Nothing happens to you except by the will of God, and yet [God's] beloved children curse it because they do not know it for what it is.”
We complain about the difficulties in our life. We cry about them. We want to run away from them! We even doubt God's goodness and become suspicious about whether God really cares about us when things don't go our way, or we go through hard times.
I went on a retreat a couple of years ago, and I had a conversation with one of the speakers who gave a talk about God's providence. I was sharing my heart with him about how I felt I didn't know if I could trust God because He had not answered my prayers in one area of my life. I was feeling heartbroken and empty-handed. The speaker explained to me that when we die and face God, we are on trial. God is the judge. But during our time on earth, God is on trial. And we are the judge. The devil is constantly probing, "Does God really love you? Is He really that good? Does He really care about your happiness?" It is up to us to decide. To decide whether we will condemn God and crucify Him. Or whether we will believe in His unchanging goodness and love for us.
My life has been full of crosses this year, and I feel that is the question that has been constantly been coming up: "Will you thank me for these crosses, too?"
When we think of God's providence, I think most of us think of the consolations God provides. The material and spiritual things we need. Which is definitely true-- these are all His providence.
But this year, I feel like God has been calling me to really take a look at the sufferings I receive and accept them, too, as gifts from His hands.
Events in our life that feel like a slap in the face are more accurately God's loving providence giving us an opportunity to gain something else that we could not gain without this cross: greater humility, patience, trust in God, or even a providential redirection to the door that leads to our deepest desires and dreams.
I don't know about you, but when I die, I don't want to be ashamed of all the times I was suspicious and doubtful of God's love for me when in fact He was being the most tender, loving Father, allowing the trial because He knows the good that can come from it.
I have come to a place in my life where God is teaching me a new lesson about His Providence. I am learning how to thank God for my crosses, even when they don't make sense just yet.
When I am dealing with someone not liking me in the workplace: Thank you, God, for this cross. Thank you for the chance to grow in humility.
When my car gets totaled: Thank you, Lord, that I'm safe. It could have been worse. Also, thank you for the car insurance money that's actually allowing me to buy an even better car, that I otherwise would not buy without this accident.
When my love life does not pan out the way I hoped: Thank you, Lord, because you saved me from the wrong person and are more clearly showing me what I look for in a spouse.
I will not lie. In the moment, it is very hard to thank God through the suffering. It is really difficult to think or see clearly when all you feel is pain. But I will tell you, sorrow somehow turns to sweetness when we say, "Lord, thank you for allowing this. You are so good. I believe in your Goodness. You know what is best for me. Be with me."
I think that when our heart is broken and we are in pain, that's prime time for the enemy to start whispering in our ear, "Where is God now? Does He really love you? What evidence really is there that He cares....?"
In this earthly life, God is on trial. Each of us must judge... The evil one cannot wait for us to judge God as the evil one.
But when we take these moments and declare aloud, "Lord, I believe you are good. I know you love me. I praise you because of your good plans for my life! Thank you for these moments of pain, that I can suffer on the cross with you." This is like a kick in the face to the devil.
All of a sudden, those words of suspicion and doubt he tries to weaken us with become the thing that make us even holier.
Today, this week, I challenge you.
The next time that your heart is in pain and darkness seems to surround you, bless God in the pain. Praise His good plans for you while you are still in the dark. Then, you will grow in holiness. The suffering will now sanctify you. And the devil may just realize that he should stop because the very pain he's trying to inflict is not really pushing you down to the ground, but it's elevating you, making your face shine brighter with God's Holy Light, and it's creating in you a Saint.
Let's spend this next week praising God even amidst our trials and thanking Him for His promises, His promises to give us a good life and a future. May God bless you and keep revealing His Goodness to you...
Sending you all my love,