Grace to you!
In today’s reflection, I share the reality of God’s abiding presence and constant providence.
One of the concerns people sometimes raise in their faith journey is dealing with situations where God seems not to be there anymore. Situations where it seems God isn’t working anymore. When it seems God is far away or unconcerned about what is happening to us or in our society or situations.
In our spiritual life, sometimes we pass through those moments. Spiritual masters call those—dark night experiences.
Any person who lives a virtuous life will definitely witness those dark night experiences. Not once. They come in various ways and at various stages of the spiritual life. Virtuous life isn’t about drinking from a pleasant tasteful milk all the time. There are numerous times the virtuous would eat from the bitter herb of suffering too. Once they are matured for it, the righteous feeds from the solid food as St. Paul suggests (1 Cor 3:2).
We may seem prepared to handle those experiences when they come, yet when they do occur, we realize they beat our well-thought out plan of action. They catch us by surprise. We expect them in certain ways. They come in ways we didn’t expect. Sometimes, they become overwhelming. Yet through it all, God keeps working and keeps providing us with the graces to endure.
We have to realize that God does not stop working in our lives because we are born. When the Book of Genesis (2:2) describes God resting from the work He was doing (sabbath), it does not mean that God has stopped working. God didn’t stop ordering creation to its perfect end.
The encounter between the Lord Jesus Christ and some Jews in Jn 5:17-30 brings out this picture for us. While the Lord emphasizes the equality between him and the Father (the main goal of that text), he uses the occasion of his healing of a sick person on a sabbath to teach us that God doesn’t cease to work. Jesus Christ as God the Son, just like God the Father, goes on working (Jn 5:17).
In your spiritual life, never feel that God ceases to be God especially when the going is unbearably tough. Remember that when the night is darkest, the dawn is near.
You should be consoled by the tender love and care of God. God is with us in Christ—Emmanuel. Christ abides with us in those moments. God uses the imagery of a nursing mother to assure us of his abiding presence and providence.
You may prayerfully hold on to the following biblical message. In praying it, you may replace Zion with your name since the message applies to you as well as a believer: “But Zion [put your name instead] said, “The Lordhas forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you” (Is 49:14-15).
God does not abandon his own. Hold on to this truth and be strong.
Praying for the grace of absolute confidence in the providence of God who loves us with an everlasting love and draws us with His loving kindness. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Wednesday Lent Week 4:Is 49:8-15; Jn 5:17-30]
Father Maurice Emelu, Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections for the season of Lent your individual spiritual edification. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations. .