Raise your hand if you are tired of missing mass because of extenuating circumstances like Covid or snow. In my twenty years of ministry I have only canceled one mass, which was Christmas Eve one year when Wichita Falls got 2 feet of snow. My truck, which is not low to the ground, could not push its way through the snow. Now that we have just come through complete shutdowns, only to have to cancel the week of Ash Wednesday. Frustrating.
In all honesty though, being controlled by circumstances is the perfect Ash Wednesday. Remember you are but dust, and to dust you shall return. We are not in control, everything is God’s plan. Did God send the virus, no, but did He use the virus…does He use all broken world situations to His advantage, absolutely.
When frustrations occur, when this broken world presents itself to your life, we need to know that God can use these circumstances to our spiritual advantage. We usually look too God in tough times and ask “why God”, when we should instead ask “God what are you trying to show me?”
God loves us. Because of this love it makes no sense that He would simply let us suffer. As a parent I never disciplined my children just to see them suffer, I did it to teach them a lesson from which I hoped they learned. As we suffer, whether it be from our own mistakes or from one not of our own making, we need to look for what God is teaching us. In ministry I have noticed that many times our habits get in the way of our seeing God. We suffer, we ask God to show us His will, and we cannot see nor hear Him because our lifestyle prevents us. God wants us to be with Him, so He sits back and lets the world peel away the life we have built up. People hit hard times and it is really tragic to watch as they lose it all…but is it? Time after time we hear the story of those who went bankrupt, were homeless, and then found God’s true calling.
I have to be honest, I hope that I can follow God without Him having to remove my life from around me! And that is where Lent comes in. I try every Lent to locate the areas in my life that could be “blocking” God from my life, and do away with it. I try to make sacrifices that will cause an eventual good, not just cause me suffering. Let me be clear, to suffer in any way for the faith is good..so if you just want to suffer in reparation for your sins be my guest! But I would rather suffer for life changes that will help my walk with God. I try to force good habits into my life through lent. I try to give up those things that I know have the possibility of diverting me from service of the Lord.
This world imposes itself upon us, and it is frustrating. What is God trying to show us? Look for God’s lessons, instead of allowing yourself to put up walls by being angry at the situation. God loves us and He wants to bring us closer to Him, let’s not follow him kicking and screaming, let us clear our sight and follow Him in sacrifice with joy.