Some families have been beat up and beaten down by all the restrictions and challenges of the pandemic. Life in general has seemed to take on darker tones. I would like to remind all families not to allow such a spiritually rich time as this pass you by.
A Spiritually Rich Time
Any time we experience deep trials there is also an accompanying shower of grace. You see, God is in the business of loving us. And, it is precisely when we encounter the deep trials that we are most in need of his tender love. All the recent challenges and the future ones are ripe, then, with opportunities to turn to our loving Father.
I don’t want anyone to think that this is a get-rich-quick scheme. Pay three installments of $19.99 and get the solution to all your questions. No, this is a different economy; it is the economy of grace; it is the economy of our salvation. No one really wants to struggle. No one really wants the challenges and the pain. And this is exactly the point. The thing is that experience that we don’t want is the one that God does want us to give to him; that God does want us to turn over to his merciful love.
A Divine Exchange
So now that we are ready to turn to God in our darkest time, what does he do? Well, here is where it becomes more marvelous than we ever imagined. Scripture says, “Come to me you who are burdened and heavy laden, and I will give you rest because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) When we turn over to him the despair and the failures, he gives us a lighter burden, the burden of trust. If we can trust in his merciful goodness, then we are ready to receive his help. And what will this look like? Well, for the fearful it might be courage, for the despairing it might be hope, and for the lonely it might be an assurance that they are deeply loved. He knows each of us perfectly and perfectly he can help us when we turn to him with a living and confident trust.
It may happen that we don’t get the response that we expected. “Who really can know the mind of God.” (Romans 11:34) But here again is an opportunity to trust. An opportunity to trust that God is giving us what we need now, preparing us for what we will need later and certainly giving us what we need for eternity, which is the ultimate goal. “What would it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul.” (Mark 8:36)
Surrender to God’s Love
I will admit that the words I have written above are little consolation for those who have experienced tragedies. But I do not say them to pour salt on your wounds. I say them because they are true, and only the truth can ever set you free from your pain and your emptiness and your loss, and that truth has a name, Jesus. What I am proposing to those in the darkest pits, as well as those stumbling in the dark, is that surrendering ourselves to God’s merciful love as shown to us and manifested in the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the path to the healing and wholeness that the Holy Spirit brings us. I include a simple prayer of surrender that we can say to turn over our sorrows to God’s merciful love.
A Sweet Surrender Prayer
Oh merciful Jesus,
Freely given to redeem me,
Take my pain, take my anguish, take my loneliness,
I give them freely to you,
I surrender to you all those things that are an obstacle between me and you,
In exchange I accept your merciful love for me,
I accept your redemption, I accept your compassion, I accept your gentle yoke,
Help me, sweet Jesus, to live the truth of this marvelous exchange,
Help me to know the power of the Cross to change darkness into light,
Sorrow into joy, and loss into healing.
Thank you for your love for me, for your goodness to me, for your sacrifice,
I know, that with you I will be well,
I will be well because I will Trust your goodness in time and in eternity.
Hold me close, Lord, because I often stumble,
Help me up because I often fall,
Be near me because
I am yours and you are mine.