Monday, May 5, 2008

Surely Goodness and Mercy Will Follow Me All the Days of My Life

My friend Kate recently wrote me a note on the subject of suffering:

"It's pervasive, ever present and does not discriminate. It ebbs and flows from serious to slightly annoying, but is ALWAYS there. It seems there are only two options to this dilemma:
#1 God doesn't care about us and then you are an Agnostic.
#2. God has an amazing plan for all this suffering and it is the means to our salvation.
I would prefer #2 but can't understand it much."

I'd agree with Kate on the preference of #2. I know I'm coming to expect sorrows as long as I dwell in this valley of tears. It's a struggle though because I long for heaven, for Eden, for creature comfort but am constantly confronted by briars.

And whether the thorn is small: waking through the night with a baby. Or big: chronic illness, barn fire, cyclone, ... they all do the same thing. They make my unpraying heart scream, "Help me, God. God, help me. Help me, please, dear God. Help."

Sometimes that's all the praying I do. But it's genuine and it works. I'm met with a strength beyond my own and am made stronger in the process.

I even end up valuing the trial (once it's over), knowing it was the press that turned my grapes into wine.
Knowing all this, I wish I could welcome the trials. Unafraid. I wish they'd stop shocking me like bolts of lightening. I wish I could view them head on with King David's confidence:
"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
Thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
Thou anoints my head with oil. My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen."

1 comment:

tiffani said...


I had the exact same thought the other day. Only, I don't think mine was as noble as yours:) I haven't yet wished that I could actually welcome trials. I simply wondered how Saints, like Blessed Mother Teresa or St. Therese of Lisieux, could actually beg for more suffering so they could offer them up for the souls in purgatory.

I am not there yet. Not sure if I ever will be there. It is just enough for me to be able to say, "I am assuming this is for a purpose," or to remind myself that my salvation is greatly influenced by my ability to allow myself to be drawn closer to Our Lord through suffering. You have no idea how much you encourage me just by your words on your blog and the smile you continually offer me, no matter where you are, how you feel, or what is going on in your life. That is very selfless, and that is the act of one who can suffer and still spread joy wherever they go. You are blessing.