Many times, we are held back by a sense that we are simply not good enough, talented enough or smart enough to do what we want to do. We pray for God to free us from the internal chains that bind us. Self-confidence stems from confidence in Him. It is not we alone who do the work. The work is done by Him who is within us.
But there is a tension here, for will can easily be willful as it can be willing. And there is a vast difference between the two. Most often willfulness is based on fear. We try to make the world the way we want it by forcing solutions. Compensating for the uncertainty inside us, we become motivated by power instead of participation. Then we find struggles instead of solutions because force is often me with resistance. We stay emotionally hungry yet cannot be fed. We ask for more and more and receive less. Willingness, on the other hand, allows life to show us the way.
“Thy will be done,” we say in the Lord’s Prayer. And the very next line is, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Truly prayed, this is a prayer of willingness…willingness to desire God’s will. Willingness to feel and recognize hunger and therefore willingness to receive sustenance. Willingness to forgive and be forgiven. This prayer understands our human nature.
I do not know how to describe this extraordinary illness. …I seemed nearly always to be delirious;… . But if God allowed the devil to approach me in this open way, Angels too were sent to console and strengthen me. –St Therese of Liseux
My thought today is about illness. Two of my family members have serious illnesses – very serious. One just got out of the hospital and if she doesn’t take of herself, she may end up back there. The other is undergoing various procedures before having to endure a long term treatment process. This is all very hard on my little family. There aren’t many of us and there’s almost too much pressure for the rest of us to carry. But carry, we will.
St Therese seemed to believe that it was the devil who brought her an illness. I don’t believe in the devil – but I’m not writing about that now. What I am writing about – and praying about – is how to help my family members should they begin to blame God for these trials. Or should I even concern myself with that? After all, God is God and He can handle their blame.
I don’t think God is to blame here; there is no blame. It just is. Illness occurs and there’s not a whole lot we can do about it. Rather than blaming God for the horrors and sadness of our lives wouldn’t it be better to thank Him? Not for the illness, of course, but for the strength and fortitude to endure it. Believing in an Unseen God is hard enough and when we pile on anger and blame, it gets even harder to believe – to trust.
Taking a page from the lyrics of Marijohn Wilkin and Kris Kristofferson, “One day at a time, sweet Jesus, one day at a time.”