Why are we surprised?

Crap happens in more ways than one, metaphorically speaking. Perchance, you remember the popular bumper sticker a few years back that explicitly proclaimed that very thing.

So why are we so surprised when it does?

We can tend to live life deluding ourselves that somehow, we deserve roses and rainbows every day, complete with little fairies to grant our every happiness. When was the last time you saw that kind of fairy? Maybe the attitude you’ve adopted is that you only have the power to completely control your life? If you just work out enough, consume the right foods, and hang with like-minded folks, you remain in total control of your destiny?

Pardon me while I laugh my derriere off.

So why all the world’s anxiety, strife, sadness, suffering, and death?

Maybe you surmise that only those who aren’t as forward-thinking and intelligent as yourself are affected? Poor little ignorant saps who use religion as a crutch. However, this perpetual human question cries out to be understood. If there is a God, and he cares about little ol’ me, then why the pain, heartbreak, and loss?

Good question!

I discovered a homily by Fr. Mike Schmitz (5th Sunday OT) on this topic, which I found pretty elucidating. His words resonated deeply, so naturally, I wanted to share them.

He suggests modern humanity has been fed a diabolical lie, namely that “God only wants what we want for ourselves.”

Fr. Mike Schmitz

What is it we want? Truth be told, a relationship with God on our terms, strife-free, filled with fun, wealth, health, and happiness. From this erroneous premise, it follows that this God of our conception should naturally love us how we want to be loved, that is, on our terms. However, if we treat God this way, we turn him into a paltry idol of our own making. This kind of flawed thinking through the millennia has caused more confusion, doubt, and the predictable distrust of God. My way or there is no God.

I propose something for your consideration.

God loves us just as we are but loves us too much to leave us there. Like your parents, God wants to make you the best “you” possible. It boils down to being formed into the persons he knows we are capable of being, and that growth usually comes with bumps and bruises. We want to give our children the best start in life, thus, lovingly pushing them to crawl, eat solid food, and eventually walk. We know there will be falls, tears, and lots of boo-boos, but love doesn’t keep them safely hidden in a crib, tightly swaddled until they are adults and magically know how to navigate life.

God, the Creator, designed each of us and knows what is essential for our happiness. Yet, by negating this reality, we can wrongly follow the influencer of the moment, buy into the latest trends and ideologies, and believe that our happiness is guaranteed.

It’s odd; we know this thinking is not advantageous in any other aspect of life.

Not in nature, athletics, the workplace, personal wellness, or anything else worth doing. We know that long-lasting results in anything require effort, discipline, hard work, self-denial, and sometimes suffering.

Is it out of the realm of possibility to consider that perhaps an all-knowing God, who designed the universe and each of us, might just know a thing or two about what brings us joy? Believe it or not, God wants good things for us. Life is tough because humans thrive when challenged. Every time we overcome something difficult, there is growth in body, mind, and spirit.

My first lesson came when I was eight years old, as I watched my thirty-one-year-old dad taken away on a stretcher, his legs unresponsive, and ultimately, he never walked again. As we all navigated those early years, I learned that painful situations could happen without my permission and out of my control. Yet, how we faced these and many other challenges made all the difference. As children, we did not bemoan our misery or define ourselves as victims of an unfair God who didn’t love or care about our family. We learned to frequently pray with intentionality and to trust that even in this difficulty, God had a plan for our welfare even if we could not see it yet.

This perspective helped us to know that everything ultimately had a purpose, even the tough stuff.

As life progressed and my own tribulations came along, I leaned on this foundation. Sure, there were many times I threw myself a pity party. But that failed to bring any resolution, comfort, or way forward. I had found that with every trial, each one greater than the one before, I more readily surrendered myself to God. Rather than turn away in anger and frustration, I would mentally run toward the One who could help ease the pain, make sense of the senselessness, drawing good out of every trial I underwent.

“If we do not go through today’s trials, we won’t be ready for tomorrow’s trials.”

FR. Mike Schmitz

Can I turn to God despite my world collapsing, even if I’ve never had a relationship with Him? Absolutely. Just reach out with a sincere prayer of the heart.

St. Luke writes in the Acts of the Apostles, “They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” (14:22)

Trials, disappointments, suffering, and death are part of life, and there is something to be gained from them. “Why? Because we are not currently the people, we ought to be.” 

“God does something with that trial that he couldn’t do without it.” 

Our loving Father prepares us for eternal bliss if we let Him. Death and suffering do not get the last word. Pain is gain. Sorrow turns to joy. We must become the disciples this world needs and let God prepare us for the next. These trials and difficulties in life are God strengthening and refining us because we are not yet who we should be.

The whining and running away need to stop. It is counterproductive and quite unbecoming of the children of God.

Praise and thank you, Father, for loving me enough to take me through the hardest things, that have helped me grow closer to you.

“In the world, you will have trouble, but take courage; I have conquered the world.” Jn 16:33

Song by Brother Isiah: Struggler- https://youtu.be/Xdm4MqvhMJs

Published by pouredmyselfoutingift

Catholic, wife, mother, and grandmother. Ministering to those preparing for marriage and struggling within them. Cooker, baker, and dessert maker. Passionate, giving, action-orientated, dedicated to marriage and family and sharing the Good News.

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