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Thursday, December 19, 2013

When God says "no"

I can think of two examples, from St. Paul and Jesus himself, both praying earnestly for an end or abeyance of suffering. God said "no." To St. Paul he said "my grace is sufficient!" To his only begotten Son, completely innocent and undeserving of suffering, he sent an angel for comfort and strength.

I found myself at a familiar prayer, to be delivered from temptations that I have found particularly vexing for most of my life. There were years when I was safe, and months when I was not. I naturally prefer deliverance without a struggle. Partly because I dread the outcome, partly because I dread the struggle.

Thank God he said "no." A man's got to do what a man's got to do, lest, as in this case, one remains a lesser man, and I do want to be exactly, not one ounce less, who I be, in the timeless sense. Who am I? In the divine plan, one is answered in another: who is Jesus? Son of Man and Son of God, in him I find myself. And so when I ask that this or that unpleasant cup pass from me, I have my answer. Each "no" means "you can do this!" What hope he has in me! Thank God for such love and optimism for this wretch, who is not hopeless -- given such abiding hope so graciously and unbelievably placed in me!

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