0

Thank You for My Suffering

First Reading: Hebrews 10:32-39

Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened,
you endured a great contest of suffering.
At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction;
at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated.
You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison
and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property,
knowing that you had a better and lasting possession.
Therefore, do not throw away your confidence;
it will have great recompense.
You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.

For, after just a brief moment,
he who is to come shall come;
he shall not delay.
But my just one shall live by faith,
and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him.

We are not among those who draw back and perish,
but among those who have faith and will possess life.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 37:3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40

R. (39a) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Commit to the LORD your way;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will make justice dawn for you like the light;
bright as the noonday shall be your vindication.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm,
and he approves his way.
Though he fall, he does not lie prostrate,
for the hand of the LORD sustains him.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Gospel: Mark 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

NAB

I feel like there are countless ways in which You, God, have not answered my prayers—or at least that’s how I see it. I have intentions that are more immediate and they just don’t pan out. I have intentions that I have been praying about for years, and I still don’t see the answer that I want.

I think about praying so deeply to find my lost keys so I’m not late, and a half an hour later I’m still looking at making phone calls to alert people of my tardiness. Or how about the years that I have been praying for total relief from my anxiety? That certainly has not happened yet either. Don’t you see these things would be good for me, Lord? I was told that if I truly trusted in Your power, You would hear my prayer and answer it. I trust you. This is good stuff I want here. How can you say “no”?

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will grant you your heart’s requests.”

I DO take delight in you, Lord. Well, maybe not right this minute when I am feeling like You don’t hear me or answer my requests. But, most of the time, especially when things are going well, I delight in You.

“Commit to the Lord your way; trust in him, and he will act.”

Well, I suppose I may not be committing myself to Your way. I feel like I may have this figured out if You would just listen to what I need. But, you’re saying I need to pledge myself to your way, aren’t you? Even if I don’t understand it. Okay.

“Though he fall, he does not lie prostrate, for the hand of the LORD sustains him.”

You are not a genie who will grant my well-intentioned wishes. You alone know what is best for me, even if that means a lifelong cross that I must bear. Instead of promising me freedom from all suffering, Lord, you promise to sustain me through the hardship. After all, the real reward, the real life, is not here on earth.

“The salvation of the just is from the Lord; he is their refuge in time of distress.”

You will be my refuge, Lord. I will continue to ask things of You, but I will open my heart to the idea that life and suffering are a process which we need to walk through in order to be ready for what is truly real.

In what ways is the Lord asking you to suffer in this life? How can you suffer well and take refuge in Him? See your suffering as a process of refinement. Thank the Lord for the suffering you have.

Jenna Hines has teeny army of three children (and one in utero), and is married to a bearded fellow named Mike. A former high school English teacher, she now stays at home where she blogs and runs a crafty embroidery business. You can find out more about her here

No Comments

Leave a Reply