Expect the Unexpected

Is your soul “athirst” for the living God, like we read in responsorial psalm (Ps 42:2-3; 43:3-4)? Are you tired of waiting to “behold the face of God” (in other words, his friendly support up close and personal)? Are you spiritually or emotionally thirsty because it seems like God doesn’t really care about you or isn’t moving fast enough to resolve hardships?

We get thirsty when we haven’t had enough to drink. In this life on earth, we will never fully quench our thirst for God, because it’s only after death that we come face to face with God, and it’s only after being completely purged of everything that’s not of God that we are able to enter into the fullness of his goodness and love.

However, we can relieve some of our thirst here and now. In fact, we’re probably much more thirsty than we need to be.

An unquenched thirst for God usually manifests itself in loneliness, despair, frustration, self-indulgence — or any other feeling or behaviour that’s triggered by lacking what we need. And yet, as Christians who spend time every day with God, we should feel like we have everything we need. Why don’t we?

We get a clue from the reading (2 Kings 5:1-15). Observe the behavior of the leper Naaman. God gave him the healing that he asked for, but at first Naaman didn’t believe it because it was offered in an unexpected way.

Usually, when we think that God has abandoned us, what’s really happened is that he’s not giving us what we want the way we want it!

To see what God is doing and to receive everything that he wants to give us, we have to first get rid of our expectations. When dealing with God, we should expect the unexpected.

The people in the synagogue at Nazareth (in Gospel reading: Luke 4:24-30) had been waiting a very long time for the Messiah. They had been praying for his arrival for many generations. But they, too, did not recognize the answer to their prayers because of unmet expectations. The Messiah landed on their doorstep in quite an unexpected way.

How often we get angry, like those people did, because God’s love and his answers to our prayers are not what we want the way we want it.

Like those people, we reject Jesus even while trying to find him. We assume “no, this can’t be right” to what he’s placing in front of us. By turning away and staying focused on whatever we’re expecting, we say “no” to his gifts and blessings.

This is why our souls are parched. We need to spend time this Lent identifying and repenting of all the ways we say “no God, this can’t be right” — whether it’s “no” to a Church teaching because we don’t like it or “no” to a bad situation that doesn’t end no matter how hard we pray.

We find our miracles when we expect the unexpected.

© 2016 by Terry A. Modica

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