Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Promises, Promises

In case you were wondering, the title of this blog is also the title of a 1983 song that I tried to find the lyrics for, but you'll have to settle for the picture I'm going to post of the band who sings it. It's almost as good as the song. Don't know what that says about the song...anyways...

When I was praying this morning the word "promises" kept coming into my head. The first reading today was a part of the saga of Moses leading God's Chosen People to the Promised Land. Basically, the Lord was bringing His promised people out of Egypt, and they began to get a little impatient.

He'd given them Moses to lead them. He made walls of water to set them free and drown their enemies. But the journey was starting to get long. And they were getting tired of waiting.

He'd given them signs, He'd given them a leader to bring them His Word and Promise. Yet, after a while, they were getting impatient and distrustful.

Sound familiar? It does for me! I find myself in this situation over and over again, and even presently.

"Sure, God, you've sent me lots of signs that you have saved me in the past. You've even kept some of your promises before. But this time....You are taking way too long. Trusting You is too hard. I give up."

Sadly, these thoughts have come a lot for me in the past year or so! But they come up over and over in the Bible too.

Exhibit A: Adam and Eve- God gave them everything!! But they didn't trust, and it led to sin.

Okay, so maybe and Adam and Eve aren't a great example because that whole original sin thing. So here are some examples in the Bible of how we SHOULD act when waiting on a promise (hint- it requires patience and sacrifice! Doh!):

Old Testament:
Abraham- waited hundreds of years for a son and then God asked him to give him back. Right. I'd be ticked. But in the end, God spared him and kept His promise!

Noah- had to go through a flood and build a big freakin' arc before he got the rainbow. And had to live with animals. Lots of them. Just saying. Couldn't have been comfortable or pleasant.

The Israeli people- many years of slavery and walking through a desert and plagues...hmmm...

This all makes me think of a St. Teresa of Avila quote: "If this is how you treat your friends, Jesus, no wonder you have so few!" I am paraphrasing of course, but you get my point.

Onto the New Testament:
Simeon- the old man who it was revealed he wouldn't die until he saw the Messiah. He waited for years before seeing Jesus finally in the Presentation scene. "Now your servant can go in peace. My eyes have seen the salvation according to your word". Indeed!

Joseph and Mary- lots of angels told them lots of things, but that didn't save them from any sorrow or suffering.

And of course...Jesus. He IS the promise and fulfillment for us, but He had to suffer and die before the promise was fulfilled.

I think you get my point(s).

God has a unique promise and call for each of us, but we are going to have wait, suffer, wait, wait, and then maybe suffer a little more before some are fulfilled. This whole time on earth is just a waiting for the promise of heaven.

The best way to deal with this suffering and waiting can be best seen in the examples of Abraham, Noah, Joseph, Mary, Jesus (maybe not so much the way I heard about this morning. There were snakes involved) ... and they said 'yes' to the suffering in order the be a part of the promise. So I guess we should offer up a little waiting and suffering patiently (easier said than done!) in the HOPE of the promise.

Ah, HOPE! Now, we are talking! The light in the midst of the suffering and waiting!!! Jesus doesn't just leave us to suffer and wait! He gives us HOPE!!! And here are a couple quotes I found recently in my prayer time on the gift in a time of waiting- hope:

"...hope is a choice that often demands an effort. It is easier to worry, get discouraged, be afraid. Hoping mean trusting. When we hope we are not passive, we are acting."- Interior Freedom

"But you must believe and hope. Oh this great quality of hope! Practice it often so that it will grow in you. Don't you understand that the more you expect, the more you receive? Then expect even the impossible and you will have it." - He and I

This second quote makes me think of something else I've been praying about- expectations (and I'll close after this, I PROMISE ;).

Before I entered the convent, my spiritual director told me to "expect more" out of God. This is GREAT advice, especially when waiting and trusting for the fulfillment of His promises. God can do everything! Anything! Shouldn't we expect the most from Him? This goes back to the confidence in God thing, which I've talked about at length and in circles, so I'll spare you that reflection again... ;)

As we wait in this desert of Lent for the HOPE and promise of the Resurrection, let's unite our sufferings to one another and hope in Jesus together!!

Happy Almost Holy Week ;)
Peace in Him,
Julia

1 comment:

The Swandas said...

You ROCK! I can totally relate to all your thoughts on promises, hope, waiting, trustings, suffering, etc. We're all on a journey! :) I'm praying for ya...