"If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking." James 1:5 Where I lack the greatest wisdom without a doubt is in discerning the Will of God. There are several factors that block my clearly hearing God speak in my life - primarily my own voice and will are often drowning out God's voice. A very anxious person by nature - I erroneously believe the more of my life I control; the better my life will be. I seem to have this crazy notion that I know better than the creator of the universe what is needed for me to be happy.
God is not in the happiness business - he is in the holiness business. Paradoxical however the more I order my life to holiness - the truly happier I will be. Not the fading worldly happy but a much deeper, "it can't be taken away from you" joy! His ways are always 'different and higher' (Isaiah 55) from any ideas I may hold onto. I see tomorrow, and the next day - he sees into infinity (and... oh come on we have to go there... BEYOND!). My greatest desire is always to avoid pain and suffering - though God did not spare his only begotten Son this fate; why would mine be any different. Jesus willingness to accept the Father's will, to drink from the cup that was not passed him by - opened the gates of Heaven. Jesus instructions are clear. If you want to follow him - if you want to journey toward those open gates - pick up your cross DAILY and follow him.
A few years ago I was leading a Confirmation retreat - at the end of the day - one young man stood up and began to YELL at me!! Yell... swear... berate --- completely misunderstanding and twisting my words, he stirred the entire class into a frenzy. In my arrogance, I fought back - trying to reason with him and 'win' the argument. I did not win; not even close!! I had students begging me to stop the verbal exchange, some running from the room in tears - it got ugly. REALLY really ugly. On my way home I called a friend to let out in a barrage of incoherent sentences - the angry held at myself, my disappointment that the host church did not come to my assistance, and how furious I was with this young man's immature and disrespectful behavior. She calmly and wisely said - find an open church and go pray! Our chapel grateful was open, I knelt in the last pew - and the tears began to fall among uncontrollable sobs.
"Father Almighty", I begged; "how could you allow this to happen!! I AM out doing your work - trying to bring souls closer to you; why would you not rescue me!!" Then clearly in my heart I heard 3 very distinct messages:
Fortitude. The strength to do God's will. His perfect will. Despite my human ego and agenda. In the face of push back and indifference. Fortitude. The gift provided to enable my yes to God to not fall short or fade when that cross gets heavy or the road verges from where I wanted to go. Fortitude. This ingredient is crucial for having the stamina and strength to utilize all the other great gifts from God that sanctify us and make us holy.
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
Recipe for Holiness image courtesy , Debbie Gaudino 2016
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