Robert had to admit, this past year was the worst of his life. Murphy’s Law seemed to be working in high gear, and in some circumstances Murphy brought his friends along with him. Probably the worst experience was when he was accused of mismanaging funds where he worked. He could really sense evil in that whole experience. And the fear of having to go through the investigation kept him awake many nights. He was innocent, but the one who was guilty was actually trying to throw Robert under the bus. It was a horrible experience. Yet, there was good that came from it. Although Robert was tempted to turn his back on God for “allowing” this to happen to him, he actually did the opposite. He prayed harder, he went to Mass practically every day. But the thing that put him on the right track was when he went to talk to a high school buddy of his who was a priest.
During their conversation, Robert, feeling really exasperated, said: “Jim, all I ever wanted in my life was to get married, have a family, live in a quiet suburb, mind my own business, and use my talents to the best of my ability. All along the way, things always seemed to play out differently than I expected. And now this! I’ve really had it!”
Jim said, “Here’s something I learned the hard way in my own life: What makes us miserable is not so much the circumstances of our lives, but our expectation of what we thought our life should be. Although you don’t feel it right now, Christ is present in the very experience that is upsetting you so much. Not that He has caused it to happen to you but, if you cooperate with Him, He will bring you closer through the experience. So, don’t turn your back on God now. Stay with it. Ask for God’s help and allow God to save you.”
Those words were most helpful for Robert. He payed attention to them, and as events played out, and he was eventually set free from all the fear and worry, he realized that God did rescue him, not just from that particular experience, but from his own wrong way of looking at his life thus far and his expectations for himself. It’s almost as if the light came on and he recognized Christ for the first time in his life, saw Him as real and having an effect in Robert’s life. Jesus was really interested in Robert and what happened to him! He was able to “connect the dots” for the first time.
I really think this is what Epiphany is all about. Seeing the light, connecting the dots, realizing who Jesus is. We are given a choice how we will respond to what God is asking of us in our situation. We need to open our eyes and see the light of Christ—-see things differently, follow Christ’s light that is leading you, don’t miss the presence in your midst. The Scribes and Pharisees were looking at the events in Bethlehem in the word way, but the Magi had a different take on things.
Certainly we can let off steam from time to time, but our real task is to be steady and steadfast. And even when you find yourself complaining about things going wrong—-or at least not as you would want them to go, end by tell the Lord that you still trust Him and be confident that He will help you. So follow the light of Christ as did the Magi. They were aware of something important in their midst and thought that it was important enough to pay attention to.
Follow the star so Jesus can change your perspective on life: “Your light has come. The glory of the Lord sines around you.”