As the famous story of St. Teresa of Avila falling off her horse crossed my mind, the one in which she muttered to God, “No wonder you have so few friends, this is how you treat them!” I was struck with guilt. By the power of the Holy Spirit my mouth uttered the plea of a gracious prayer, “God, knock me off my high horse.”
I am going to share with you something God then told me.
“My daughter, you struggle a lot with impatience. You know my will, and then you go and try to change it? Why?”
*Hides face from God*
Good question. Why do I try to change it? Especially if I trust that my life is perfect in God’s eyes. He’s right, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has a hard time with letting God take His [perfect] time on my life, so naturally, I felt compelled to write this. Maybe some of you want to get knocked off your horses with me? Amen?
Let’s carry the cross of obedience.
A lot of us have crosses in our lives that we wish were not our crosses. These are the special, unchangeable circumstances that God permits in our lives; handicaps, illnesses, break-ups, lost friendships, unemployment, etc. That said, how often do we compare our lives to others too? Saying things like, “How come my friend doesn’t have to deal with this burden, but I do?” OR, “if only I had THIS, then I’d be happy–probably more patient and holy too!”
But, the truth is, God is actively using our crosses as our own specific means towards sanctification. What I am called to live, and what crosses I’m called to carry, is not the same as yours.
“…boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us. –Romans 5:3
Obedience is a hard grace to cooperate with. Obedience comes with acceptance–“Okay, God, this IS how it is right now.” With acceptance comes submission–a willingness to submit to God’s plan for His purpose for our lives. With submission comes endurance–a personal determination to keep working on this unpleasant circumstance. Yet, through all of it is a deep motivation for the reason we’re doing it…a reminder that in all those things; hope triumphs all.
Hope in the unseen. Hope that there is a glorious reason for what it is we are doing. A stirring of the heart that becomes our motivation amidst our pain. Ahhh, hope. What a wonderful thing.
Because if one does not have hope there would be no point in carry crosses or staying obedient. We would be obedient towards nothing! How insane is it that we crave, with all our might, to put total and complete reliance on something we’ve never actually seen! There is an expectation and feeling of complete trust in someone infinitely greater than we could ever imagine.
From personal experience with hope, I can look back and say despite what crosses have happened to me, it was carrying them that was the greatest victory, not the “victory” I thought was coming. I know it was never about what happened to me, rather how I reacted to what happened to me.
By His grace, I am thankfully able to know it is always God’s strength alone that fortifies me in the tragedies of my life. It’s His power, in my weakness, that molds me into the person I am. With that, I gladly say, “let another cross begin!” For a new depth of my own transformation is upon me.
St. Katherine Drexel said, “the patient and humble endurance of the cross–whatever nature it may be–is the highest work we have to do.”
If you are going through a cross that is taking over your life, thoughts, and mental energy, God must be calling you to some extraordinary depth of greatness. And whatever is your cross, it’s probably a desire, attraction, or meaning specific to YOU that will reveal something totally amazing about you, your purpose, and His plan for you.
Feel the emotions, call Him in weakness, cooperate with His will and the graces He gives you, and ask Him for hope. Not letting Him work on you, I assume, is the harshest upset we can give Him.