It had been two years since her divorce, but Laura just couldn’t free herself from the anger that she felt every day. She tried seeing a therapist, but that really wasn’t helping all that much. She tried talking to a trusted friend but within a few days she was back in that dark place again. And she could see that all of this was having a bad effect on her relationship with her children, her family and her friends. She became defensive, overly sensitive, and lost in herself.
Needless to say, her divorce had been a painful experience. Her husband had left her for another woman. And things between her and her ex at present were pretty raw, and nasty. So, Laura was finding it hard to forgive, and her sense of self-worth was very low.
Laura was getting worn out. She was tired of it all. Would she ever find her way to the other side of all this pain and disappointment?
What words do we hear this morning? “Affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
When we go through a difficult time we may come to the point where we don’t know where to turn. We are worn out and confused. This can be the time when we might think, “I’ve tried everything else, maybe I should give God a try”. Or you might hear of someone who is struggling, and you might suggest to them that they try getting back to God, getting back to church, or maybe even “give Saint John Neumann Church a try”—- they might find hope there.
In tough times, we can make a mistake in our thinking. We can presume that all the answers depend on ourselves. A person like Laura was relying on herself and always coming up with what looked like a failure. Here’s a great quote that I think can be of help: “Don’t be discouraged by failures. When you seek to do the will of God, and meet with a failure, that failure may be a success in God’s eyes.”
So, remember: we are not alone in our suffering, and we can become a better person as a result of what we have been through. We can learn to rely on God and to allow that dependence to bring us real peace. Also, remember that God wants to have a relationship with us. That’s what Trinity is all about; the relationship that exists between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—-all rooted in love.
So, if it seems as if God is taking something away from us, it usually means that he’s preparing us for some newness that he wants to introduce into our lives. Hence the need to rely on God and not on ourselves. That’s what Jesus did, and that’s what we are asked to do.
A priest once shared with me a bit of wisdom that I keep reminding myself of every day. I leave you with this today: “When you no longer believe in what you can do for God, continue believing in what God can do for you.”