October 31, 2011 by Nicole
In my scripture study class, we’re working our way through the gospel of Mark. The more I read, the more I realize how much I wish I were able to understand the type of faith that some of those people Jesus healed. Some of them wanted nothing more than to just touch his clothes, and they knew he would heal them. Yesterday, I was was reading chapter 9 of Mark, and got to the story where the father asks Jesus to heal his son, who is possessed by a demon. He asks Jesus to help his son, saying, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus tells him that everything is possible for those who believe, to which the father answers “I do believe. Help me to overcome my unbelief!”
This pretty much sums up my prayer life lately. Between the agony of waiting to find out if my husband gets this job or if we go back to square one again, and the numerous times that God’s plan does not answer my prayers in the ways I hope for, well, let’s just say that life gets mighty frustrating these days.
Now as far as this most recent job opportunity goes, I know that this search committee has put in a lot of hard work and long hours seeking out the pastor that best fits their church, and I know that they have a difficult decision ahead of them. As much as I hope that Randy gets to have the opportunity to be their pastor, I can also understand that–at least in this case–the decision at which they arrive is one that will be the result of careful consideration and not religious prejudice. Thus, if the other candidate is the one that God has in mind for this church, I can respect their decision with grace. It doesn’t mean that I will be happy, but after having met everyone this last weekend, clearly these are good Christian people and I will be happy that they have found the person who best fits their church.
On another level, though, this is not an easy thing to deal with. I can say that in many respects, my own life and relationship with God has not been an easy one. While some people clearly feel His love and his presence in their lives all of the time, I have the more of the type of relationship that Mother Theresa, St. John of the Cross, and St. Teresa of Avila had. I feel sometimes that God has forgotten me, abandoned me, or however else you want to describe it. I get frustrated because my prayers seem to fall on deaf ears, and yet I know that I have to persevere and pray in spite of these hardships and trials. I do my best to keep faith in God’s plans for me, to remind myself that God’s plan is larger than me, but every time life sends along another major blow, it feels more devastating than the time before it. More often than not, I find myself wondering whether I am going to continue to struggle through life plagued with doubt and worry.
I am brutally honest about it in prayer too, to the point that it sometimes reduces me to tears. I tell God that I know I am not supposed to worry; I am not supposed to fret about tomorrow. I am not supposed to be anxious. I tell him that I know that all the suffering that I have to go through right now is of little account if He holds me in eternal life, and sometimes I pray for deliverance from the present trials I am in the midst of. I try to be mindful of the fact that I have been blessed with so many other things–after all, I have a home, a job, a car, a good and faithful husband, dogs, clothing, food. As hard as I try to overcome these things, I still struggle under the weight of difficulty. And, as each month passes, the bills get larger and the paychecks have to stretch farther, I don’t know what else to do.
Before I left for Pennsylvania with my husband, I spent the morning at mass at a church that I have never been. Part of the homily reminded me that at times like these, when our ability to persevere is tested, the fact that we pray in spite of long and seemingly endless waiting is what impresses God. If that’s true, then hopefully I knock his socks (or maybe it’s sandals?) off. Either way, I know one thing for sure. I do believe, but I need serious help to overcome my unbelief.