Invoked with faith, the Lord extends His Hand, breaks the coils that encircle the person at prayer, dries the tears from his eyes, and stops what might otherwise be a precipitous descent. “Prayer helps to discover the loving Face of God,” said John Paul II. “He never abandons his people but guarantees that, notwithstanding trials and suffering, in the end good triumphs.”
God is always there when we let Him close and when we encounter the roaring seas in our own lives. Let’s face it: all of us will face crises in our lives. If we could see with God’s eyes, if we knew the full truth, we might see that in fact everyone faces equal tragedy – just in different ways. Many sufferings are not visible. But we all go through it. Try as we might, we never reach a perfect state where everything goes our way. It may do so for a day or two, even a week, but often a good day is followed by a day of trial.
We are simply called to endure and trust. We all die in the physical, but when we consider that we live eternally (in the spirit), no preparation is really too tough for that. If you were God, you would also want people prepared. Why do disasters occur to begin with? I found it interesting when one priest, Father Joseph Lionel, from the one of the hardest hit areas in India, noted that “perhaps we can also view matters not so much as God punishing those victims specifically, as the fact that when sin builds in the world, it puts the world out of order. It causes an actual darkness that can physically — and geologically — manifest. Events come almost as a release of that dark tension. God allows it. The good suffer with the evil. There are victim souls and always have been.”
Once more, it gets back to the mystery of suffering. But let’s say this: if you were God, and had once watched a third of the angels rebel against you, wouldn’t you test those who now seek Heaven?
Tempests arrive in our lives, and if a number of circumstances are in place, we can face a “perfect storm.” That’s when one unusually potent meteorological system interlocks with another, or a couple of others. An especially frigid blast of Arctic air might collide, for example, with a cyclonic system of wet, snow-making weather over the Atlantic. We know that special circumstances of hot and cool air create tornadoes. There are high and low pressure centers, and they interact.
So too are there circumstances that break into turbulence in our own lives. Both mundane and spiritual forces converge. We may be at an especially tender emotional moment when a big hassle comes at work, along with trouble with our children and an argument with a friend or spouse. The world seems to be crashing down on us. It’s one thing after another. And it is how we handle them that counts. Crucial here is taking them one at a time, one day at a time, and remembering to let the crisis pass without over-reacting.
Like fear, over-reaction grants power to evil. It is good always to remember that a better day will follow; with faith it always does. If we have a “bank account” of prayer — if we have sought closeness to God — He will soften the blow; He affords automatic protection.
God is joy and when you draw nearer to Him you draw nearer to joy. It’s that simple. There’s nothing you can do that will bring as much happiness. Closeness comes in a special way through praise and gratitude, which are signs of humility. Adore God through the day. Do it from the heart. Love Him. Praise Him over and over — ten times, a hundred times. Praise You Jesus, praise You Christ!
That’s what will bring you joy, because the Lord is the personification of joy. Jesus said we should request the favor of God (Matthew 7:7-9), He said to knock at the door, and this we must do, knowing that if something is good for us and in the plan the Christ — plus asked with faith, which means in a way that is fearless — it will be granted. Ask the Holy Spirit what it is you should ask for. And do it in the name of Jesus.
In this way, anything is possible.