Are you feeling discouraged? Then get your focus back onto Jesus!
Jesus is your reason to hope, not the circumstances nor the people in your life. God is bigger than your worst problem, and he cares – he really, really cares about you. But he doesn’t wave a magic wand to make everything suddenly become easy and nice and happy. What holiness would we learn in that? And how would the people who are troubling us gain humility?
If we could visit the far future and look back at this time and see two optional paths – one in which God took us on a short-cut to the end of our problems and one in which we walked all the way through the dark valley with Jesus – we would definitely prefer the latter. There is so much more to be gained! More blessings, more triumphs, more spiritual growth, more benefit to the others who are on the journey with us, more ministry that comes from it so that we make a bigger difference in helping others, and so on, lots more.
However, letting go of our wish for everything to be easy and nice and happy right now is a difficult death. We’ll mourn, but grieving helps us get beyond it to the joy of the resurrection that springs from hardships.
All of our dyings (our sufferings, our humblings, our rejections, our persecutions, the false accusations against us, the loss of people who are dear to us, etc.) will always result in resurrections if we closely follow Jesus. But in the midst of discouragement and depression, it seems impossible, right? That’s because, before the resurrection occurs, we can’t imagine how God will turn our particular daily deaths into new life.
For Jesus to be our source of hope we have to place him squarely in front of us and we must keep our eyes on him. We have to let him block our view of what is going wrong and what we fear might go wrong. We have to let his crucifixion absorb the pain we’re feeling. When we connect our sufferings to Christ’s sacrifice, we also connect our lives to his resurrection.
As St. Paul says in the reading (1 Corinthians 15:12-20), how can you say there will be no resurrection for you? If there is no resurrection, Christ himself has not been raised and our faith is pointless, meaningless.
Rather than look at the evidence of suffering and death to use as proof that our lives will not improve, we need to wait on the Lord’s perfect timing for new life to begin. By trusting in him and following his guidance every step of the way, we can sing with the psalmist in our responsorial psalm today , “Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full!”
© 2016 by Terry A. Modica