Have you ever experienced one of those cool occurrences where you read exactly what you needed to hear at the present moment? That is what happened to me today when I read the first daily reading from Romans:
Brothers and sisters: I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.
– Romans 8:18-25
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.Lately, I have been experiencing great suffering in my life. I really should be counting my blessings as I don’t have a bunch of immediate family members sick or dying, I’m healthy, have an amazing fiancé, future events to attend and exciting wedding/house plans to look forward to, and there have been a lot of incredibly awesome things happening to me. However, I have been having a lot of emotional stress/issues. It is frustrating because I desire to feel great, accomplish a lot and naturally be happy/positive all the time, but it just has not been happening for me as of late. It seems as though no matter how hard I try I still deal with sensitivities and pain to the circumstances that are less than ideal or difficult. As a practicing Catholic trying to rely on God and have a heart full of faith, this troubles me. If I have Christ as the center of my life, why am I so sad all the time? Why are things always going wrong for me? Why am I dealing with stress at this magnitude? Why is life so difficult? Why, why, why, why, why??!?
Well, while there is no exact answer as to “why” specifically I am dealing with difficulties, we know that in this life there will be suffering for all of us. It is easy to want to give up, but we have to remember the hope of the “glory to be revealed for us,” the hope and excitement of everlasting life with God in Heaven when it is our time to leave this world. This presents a need for a change in our attitude and mindset. Life will be difficult, at times extremely difficult if we are glorifying and focusing on Christ. As scripture tells us in John 15:19, “If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”
Scary verse, isn’t it? “…Because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.”
So when we are hurt by the difficulties life throws at us, wondering why we aren’t accepted, why we can’t make everyone happy, why everyone can’t make us happy, etc. etc. etc., let’s try to remember the bigger picture- our ultimate goal of getting to heaven. How are we doing in relation to the person we were yesterday? How has our prayer life been growing? How are we reacting to negative circumstances we face? For me, it can be easy to lash out and get angry. I recently went to confession (which I totally recommend doing by the way-the sacraments are a fantastic way to change our hearts, heal us, and help us toward our goal of getting to heaven!) and the priest recommended that every time I want to say something, or become angry at a trivial thing, to instead offer my anger up as a prayer three times a day for little things. He said once I start doing that, I will form a habit of noticing when I begin to get angry and can work up to catching myself on the bigger things. I have been practicing it so far and while I have a long road to go in terms of controlling my anger and quick reaction to negative stimuli, it has been helping immensely. Give it a try for yourself! The next few times you want to react in a negative way toward a situation-no matter how unfair and hurtful it may be, offer up that pain as a prayer. Say, “Lord, I really have the urge to start dropping f-bombs right now, but I am going to refrain, and instead replace my negativity with a more grateful heart.” “God, I am so overwhelmed right now I want to call up that person that has been hurting me and tell them how I really feel, but I will refrain and trust that you will take care of things.” Don’t be afraid to be real and honest with yourself and with God. He already knows your heart. Be open with Him. He cares for you.