Hope, Beads, and a Tap on the Shoulder

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September 23, 2011 by Nicole

The reminders that you get from God to “hang in there” always seem to come at you at the oddest times.  Has it fixed my pessimism? Well, no, not really.  Try as I might, I can’t help but expect another upset in regards to this particular job being the one that works out.  If you consider the track record, 6 times of being passed  over at the school my husband has put in so much hard work, 2 prison chaplain positions that didn’t come through, the army chaplaincy falling through, plus these last 2 churches in New York and Indiana who were all but ready to offer my husband a position and then decided not to because of me, well, eleven major disappointments are enough to seriously challenge not only one’s faith in God’s plan, but wonder how much longer you can bear up under the challenge with grace and love.  I tell you, it’s really, really hard.  As close and present as I felt God was back in late June/early July while I was in Lourdes, that’s exactly how distant and withdrawn I feel He is now, and it’s incredibly frustrating.

Last night, however, while in the middle of my rosary (It literally was the middle–I was just starting on the third decade of the Luminous mysteries.), the Holy Spirit seemed to suggest that there is something very good on the horizon.  The third decade of the luminous mystery focuses on Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom of God (the parables of the sower, the buried treasure, and the pearl of great price), and last night, like on a few other occasions when I am feeling particularly contemplative, I pulled out my book of rosary meditations to help me meditate and reflect on the gospels represented by each mystery.

Last night’s meditation was especially relevant to what’s going on in my life these days, and it is a great reminder for people like me who are born pessimists.  God challenges us in a way that is (at least for me) just as difficult as the times in which He tests your patience, your endurance, your stamina, and your commitment to draw close to God in the times he feels farthest away.  Here’s what it said:

Besides faith, we are also in dire need of hope.  As in the parable of the seed, we perfectly understand how things go wrong, but not how they go right.  In spite of failures, we must dare to hope in bumper crops.  Basically hope means the acceptance of and a commitment to a God of surprises.  This is a God who challenges us to look beyond past disappointments. Our God is not constrained to operate according to out iron laws of energy expended and results obtained. . . . Although one can understand better how things go wrong,  one is challenged to hope in that mysterious process whereby they go right.  God’s plan is at work: good results do come, although the bad ones are more readily explained.

~From Beads and the Bible  by John F. Craghan

Food for thought.

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