Thursday, July 2, 2009

Can this be true?

A contemporary thought that might help
understand a beginning to trusting God
in challenging moments.

When you are given a lemon, make lemonade!
Can you imagine how many times you have read or heard read this story of Abraham and Isaac? For me each venture into the story is a challenge. I wonder how Abraham must have felt at first when God asked him to sacrifice his son. Were I a father, I believe I would want to take myself and my son far, far away from this God. This was supposed to be the God of such kindness. And imagine what Isaac must have thought as he came to realize what was about to happen to him. How could he ever trust his father in the future? What was he trying to prove?

Likewise, this story makes me wonder about Abraham and his strength, his ability to trust that God will make all things right for him. This is, I believe, more challenging to me than trying to get a grasp on what God is teaching. If ever a test with such intensity came my way, I don't know what I would do? Where would I turn? How would I feel? Surely I would imagine that I was in the midst of a horrible dream. Those who know me, or think they know me well, often see the lighthearted, rather joyous priest who likes to bring smiles to peoples faces and lives. But there is a terribly worrisome side of my existence --- thanks to my mother who tried to teach all of us how to worry about everything under the sun. It is this side of me that needs much attention when I find myself carrying a problem or worry. I have to struggle to take that worrying and put it aside by trusting in the Lord. A version of the Serenity Prayer, published by a faculty member of the Creighton University School of Nursing, brings a possibility for me to strengthen my trust in God in whatever situation I might find myself. The version of the prayer was composed by Reinhold Niebuhr. May it help you in those moments when trusting God is so difficult.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.