Friday, 14 September 2012
I do know that a number of my readers have had, and some still have, serious illnesses and even painful ones. And I do know people with such illnesses. I've always admired and respected those people who bear their illnesses with dignity, fortitude and great Faith.
I'm writing this post in the hope that it might help someone in similar circumstances or in cases of great difficulty.
Whilst others can accept whatever God allows to happen to them, I find that at the first sign of difficulty I am like St Peter sinking in the sea, taking away his focus from Christ, and pleading for His helping hand.
Immediately human emotions come to the fore - disbelief, anger, confusion and so on.
"Is this really happening? Why is God doing this to me? What is to happen next? What if ... tomorrow ... never comes?"
Such emotions shut away our channel with God and leaves the field open for the devil to play havoc with our mind.
"Aha ... your God has abandonned you I see. That is if He exists at all!"
I suppose it is natural that our Faith is challenged at difficult times. A priest friend of my brother's once said when we are in such difficult circumstances we do not actually lose our Faith as such but it is challenged. Our human emotions may panic at first, which is natural; but the fact that we pray, however weakly, or the fact that we ask others to pray for us, is in itself proof that we still believe in an Almighty loving Deity ready to help us.
And the fact that the devil tempts us into believing that God does not exist is in itself proof of His existence; otherwise the devil would not have bothered with such confusing thoughts in our minds.
The instinctive response, according to Merlin Carothers (click here to learn more) is to Praise God in all difficult circumstances. We're not Praising Him because of the circumstances, but because He is still in control of events and that they are according to His will. And if we trust Him enough He will turn every circumstance to the good.
I discussed Faith with my brothers and sister, whom I consider to have greater Faith than me.
I was told that Faith is to believe that God is actually in charge and to dare to lose control to Him.
When I told a brother he had greater Faith than me, he replied that this was not the case, but that in his life he has met with many great difficulties (which I know full well); and every time God was there and has saved him from many terrible situations. So his Faith is based on fact.
I have been greatly helped by my brothers and sister in these difficult times and am very grateful for their prayers and those of my family.
I'm also grateful for the prayers of Father Francis Maple and those of my readers here and my friends.
Let me relate something which happened recently that helped me no end. A friend e-mailed me unexpectedly and said that she'd been thinking continuously about my recently deceased mother. She felt as if my mother was "nudging" her to pray for me; so she obeyed the "nudge" and prayed for me. Am I all right? she asked me.
This was before this friend (a reader of this Blog) had been told of my health scare. I have never met this person in "real life" nor does she know me or my family; but that e-mail shook my disbelief and sinking Faith into focus once again. Thank you friend.
You see, when we ask God for more Faith, He doesn't wave a magic wand and gives us more Faith; but He allows circumstances to happen where our Faith grows and where we have the opportunity to trust Him. To dare to lose control and to say "Thy will be done" and mean it.
A book which helped me a lot is "I am with you" by Father John Woolley. (Click here to learn more).
The book contains a series of "treasured words of divine inspiration as given to Father John in prayer". Each page contains a short passage and it is amazing how often when you open the book at random you read God speaking to you there and then.
Here's what I read in the depth of my despair:
My child, the refusal of anxiety, now that you are firmly in My hands ... You give anxiety the soil in which to grow whenever you look away from Me, and survey the situation from a very human and limited viewpoint.
Prolonged and futile anxiety creates the climate for many other temptations, of which you are only too aware. When evil tries to implant anxious thoughts, stand upon Me and refuse them. Turn anxieties into opportunities.
Engross yourself with others' needs from the right motive (the motive of love), ensuring that less of your mind's energy is being poured into self and its needs - real or imagined.
Can you literally feel yourself thinking and acting in new ways ... refusing all that is not of calm and patience? Because you have been rescued from the power of darkness, you can simply let Me rob all anxieties of their power.
Consider the lilies of the field! (Matthew 6:28)
Thank you for your prayers. God bless.