At sixty years of age, Maria and Paul had a beautiful life. High school sweethearts, they had four children, five grandchildren, a successful business, good friends and a fabulous beach house. They felt very blessed. Their strong faith in God saw them through some difficult challenges. Without warning, Paul died suddenly. Maria was devastated. Why did God do this? Why did God allow this to happen? An indescribable depth of sadness weighed heavily upon her heart. She felt betrayed by the God she thought was looking out for her. She was overwhelmed by despair. Have you ever experienced such incredible and deafening sadness? Where is God in all of the pain?
We often want God to fix things or intervene and change nature’s course. When He doesn’t act as we desire, it shakes our faith. We do not always understand or appreciate why things happen as they do. There is much that is beyond our control. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus and Jesus is the way to God. There is something more going on in life than what we can see with human eyes. We are on a sacred path, and God is with us. God is with us in our confusion, suffering, doubts, and intense sadness. Jesus announced God’s vision for humanity and taught people to see God and themselves for who they are. There is a way through and beyond all hardship and suffering. God does not abandon us.
God has a clear vision for the future, both for us individually and for our world. It is a vision of harmony and gentleness where all will live as one and the “wolf shall be a guest of the lamb.” God is not indifferent. He is the God of “endurance and encouragement.” In God, we see what we may be, what may come and who we can become. When Maria opened herself to God’s creative presence, she learned to trust. She began to realize that she could endure more than she had imagined. She also discovered a spark of encouragement, bringing her through the sadness to where she could be. In retrospect, Maria knew that God’s reassuring presence was with her.
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