Sunday, September 6, 2009

Why Are There So Many Problems...

It seems like our lives have become endlessly complicated. The things designed to make our lives easier, often make them more complicated. The things designed to entertain us become hurdles we must overcome (remote controls, for example). The things which ought to give us pleasure, create their own conflict and turmoil.

It occurs to me that Jesus promised that this would happen and even prepared us for these things. In the words of Jesus that few of us want to hear, we are warned about the coming days, told of persecution and trials to come, bluntly informed that treatment that the world showed Him, it will show us, and told in no uncertain terms that He did not come to bring peace on earth.

These complications often embitter us as people. We grow so tired of the constant struggles and battles of life that we live more with regrets than contentment. I do not believe, however, that Jesus tells us about this to embitter us or even to resign us to the terrors to come. Instead I think He bluntly tells us what is there so that we know when they come, He is also there. He is there -- not as a counter weight to balance them out but the presence of grace to support us in our struggles, the presence of power to address what we cannot, the presence of forgiveness to restore us tainted by sin, the presence of comfort to care for our wounded hearts and souls, and the presence of peace to carry us through (a ship on a stormy sea).

I confess that I often lament how complicated and frustrating it seems life has become... but in those moments, I am drawn to Him whose compassion knows exactly what I am talking about, whose grace is sufficient for every struggle and sorrow, whose forgiveness restores me from my big failures and sins as well as the small, and whose peace keeps me right side up in a world determined to capsize me.

St. Paul learned that thorns in sides are not all pain... they also show forth the promise of Him who is able to distract us from their pain, overcome the limits these thorns place upon us, and steal away their power with the power of the cross and empty tomb.

So if you hear me complaining, remind me of that peace that passes all understanding that is embodied in Jesus Christ, spoken in His Word, imparted in the new life of baptism, and fed to us in the bread and cup of the Holy Supper of our Lord... In other words, turn me to Jesus... and I will try to do the same for you...

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