Jane was having a hard time trying to figure out what God was doing in her life. Jane was a nurse who was just offered a position as the head of nursing at a major teaching hospital in the city. Her responsibilities would greatly increase of she took this position, and she would have a profound effect on many people in her profession because of the good name of this hospital.
Jane was also a very faith-filled person who worked very hard at having a personal relationship with Christ. One of the things that really helped her in her journey was to find the right person to be her spiritual director. In this she was very blessed and had been seeing this person regularly for over ten years now. Whenever she had tough decisions to make in her life she would be sure to have a meeting with her spiritual director.
At this session Jane told her spiritual director that she wasn’t sure if this is what God wanted for her and her family. Besides, she was very comfortable where she was. Her spiritual director told her that he thought God was involved in what was happening, most especially because of the unusual circumstances surrounding how the offer was made to her—-that it had literally come out of the blue through a colleague who made her aware of the opening. Sometimes we see God’s hand in what seem to be the coincidences of life. “Maybe God is asking you to do something for him in this offer of a new position”, the spiritual director said, “I think you should take some time in prayer. Ask God to help you to do what he wants you to do.”
About a year ago Jane’s spiritual director had given her a book entitled, “Jesus Calling”. This little book offered daily meditations for each day. And they were written as if Jesus was speaking directly to the reader. The next day Jane received a text from her director who simply wrote, “See ‘Jesus Calling’ for today”. Jane hadn’t used the book that day because of the craziness of her schedule. So when she got home she open it up and here’s what she read:
My main work is to clear out the debris and clutter, making room for My Spirit to take possession. Collaborate with Me in this effort by being willing to let go of anything I choose to take away. I know what you need, and I have promised to provide all of that—-abundantly!
Your sense of security must not rest in your possessions or in things going your way. I am training you to depend on Me alone, finding fulfillment in My Presence…Instead of grasping and controlling, you are learning to release and to receive. Cultivate this receptive stance by trusting Me in every situation.
These words had a powerful effect on Jane’s decision-making.
We have described for us today the Joyful Mystery called The Visitation. Here are two women who have both had powerful encounters with Go; have had their lives turned upside down; and were discerning what this all meant for them. Yet, in their meeting everything is made clear, and they are reassured that God is indeed all powerful and that He was asking each of them to do something special for Him.
In this encounter both Mary and Elizabeth were learning to depend on God. They were learning to, as it says in Jesus Calling, “to release and receive”. To release their plan and receive God’s plan. And both were truly blessed for being willing to do this.
Maybe the words from that page of Jesus Calling are speaking to you as well. Maybe God is tapping you on the shoulder and asking you to turn around and see Him there.
As we approach the joy of Christmas, ask the Child Jesus to give you grace so that “instead of grasping and controlling”, you can learn “to release and receive”.