The most common thought among men is that the trials and tribulations are a cross to bear and that it is because God does not love us. This is the reason why we envy the people who live in glass house and pity the people who live in poverty.
Trials for the Just
I once met a young woman, who was very pious and was a regular to Church right from her childhood and was very spiritual. Her only desire was to find the right and good partner. She stayed away from love affairs and married a man chosen by her parents and she now has a 4-year-old child.
The realization that her husband was not a good man hit her soon. He was an alcoholic, a chain smoker, possessive, having illicit relationships and above all she had to suffer physical and mental abuse. The minute we started talking, she told me, “Brother I hate God. I attended mass every day, prayed every day, observed all holy days and where was Jesus when I got such a bad husband. I had no words. So walked into the Church silently and she walked in silently too.
Trials are Not a Curse but the Trust That God Has in Us
I knelt in front of the Crucifix and asked the same question. “Lord where are you when the good people need you?” And he gave me a response immediately. In the Old Testament, there were a long list of people liked by God, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joshua and the list goes on. But God did not give crucifixion to any of them but to his own son. Why was that? God will give trials and sufferings to only those people whom He trusts and loves more. I was not very happy with this response as well. Just then another incident came to my mind. A person had 10-year-old twins, one was very responsible and the other was lazy. They were once standing at a cross road and the father wanted to go, across the road and buy some things. He was in a dilemma and was not sure who to send. There is no doubt he will send the responsible son even though he knows that there is danger crossing the road. He will not think of sending his lazy son. He will only send the son whom he trusts the most. This proves that he loves the responsible son more.
This is what happened in the life of this young woman as well. Only she can bring a conversion in her husband’s life and only people like her can hold on to their faith through sufferings. I shared this story with her after the prayers. “Dear sister, the Lord has given you a responsibility not suffering. God knows that only you can change this person and that is why He gave him as your husband. Now you have three options in front of you. You can either divorce your husband or give up life, or you can hate your husband and curse God and live, or accept this responsibility proudly and trusting God,purify your married life. It is a call to become another St Monica. It is easy to preach but it is very difficult to practice this in real life.
It is not that her sufferings reduced after the talk but her approach to the sufferings has changed. In short, Christ does not save us from the cross but saves us through the cross.
Once during my vacation from the seminary, when I went home, my mother was baking cake for me. The ingredients like chocolate, baking soda and other things did not taste good on its own but when I tasted the cake after it was mixed together and baked it was very sweet. Our lives should be like this cake. We have to train ourselves to turn our sufferings as our priceless treasures in the bank of God.
Like a lotus which blooms in dirt our lives will also bloom if we go through sufferings and the sufferings will become a path for salvation. When the life goes out of us we become dead bodies but for some people when the life goes out their bodies it becomes relics. This is the message of Good Friday as well.
Bro. Joyal Panachipuram CST