On Suffering & Surrender

“The spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among the wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God “This is the time of fulfillment.” The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel.”  MARK 1:12-15

“The spirit drove Jesus out into the desert…”  This was the phrase that stood out to me during the First Week of Lent Sunday gospel.

Desert…..Wilderness.  Emptiness.

How many times do we experience these feelings daily in even the smallest ways?  Where God may feel so far away and we don’t know where to go.  Every way we look there’s confusion, anxiousness, and worry.  No matter where we look we just can’t seem to find peace.  Then the temptation comes.  The feelings of unworthiness, despair, anxiousness, comparison… I am not good enough…holy enough…worthy enough… God could never love me…after all i’ve done… nobody could ever love…God had abandoned me…I am so alone…no body understands me …The torment goes on…

Many of the saints spoke of interior experiences of the desert.  Mother Teresa, for example felt a “spiritual dryness” for many many decades during her mission.  Where she felt the ultimate agony of loneliness and longing for God’s love.  Saint Faustina also struggled with this in her  journey toward making Jesus’s Diving Mercy known.  She experienced many times where she said things like: “It seems as though the Lord is not with me”  “I feel that my prayer alone is displeasing to him” (because she could not focus in prayer or felt thoughts that she was unloveable or unworthy of his love), “it seems that my soul has lost forever the God it used to love so dearly” 

How many times to we rely on our feelings or how things “seem” in order to make up our minds on how present God is in our lives…then soon decide we are “all alone.”  But Jesus tells us the opposite- Do not be guided by feeling.  All merit lies in the will.  Make acts of will

“Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Satan tries to make us think that we will despair forever, or that we are the sum of our sins, despair, or weaknesses.  Satan says “no one understands you” “why speak about this?”  In hopes that we will continue to wallow in our desolation and seize to seek God.  But he does not know the future, only God does. Satan feeds into  these lies of unworthiness, and pain and mocks us.  Jesus blesses them.  For differences of the “being led into the desert” are that things can “seem” or “feel” a certain way, but that’s different than the Father’s will.  We are not the sum of our sins, in fact

You are the sum of the Father’s love.  

For in our wilderness,  Jesus comes to us with the same great words He came to Saint Faustina with:

“Fear not my daughter, for I am with you.”

Be at peace…it is precisely through such misery that I want to show the power of My mercy.”

God would never try us beyond what we are able to suffer.  In fact, he upholds our sufferings to an even greater grace.  But often times we are blinded to this great grace in times of desolation, or experiences of the wilderness (loneliness, suffering, pain, depression, anxiety…).  We do not realize God is closer than ever at these times.  We are blinded.

In times of desolation, when the Spirit drives us out into the desert, we can often ask ourselves, Why do we suffer?  

Suffering is a time of transformation.  A time where we are united to Jesus, His great suffereing, & His coming Salvation.  Do we forget that we are people of the resurrection?  

“Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.” 1 Corinthians 6:14 

With great suffering comes even greater graces.

In suffering, God has his own plans to prepare our souls for the future of purification.  God supports our souls in secret.  For it is in the great mystery of His love that He meets us.  Silently.  Discreetly.  Humbly.  We need only to seek him by answering his call to acts of TRUST and OBEDIENCE.

“He has destroyed everything in me. –The only thing that keeps me on the surface—is obedience.” – Mother Teresa

Tune into the beautiful fact that He never ceases to pursue your heart. Trust and surrender to Him,  for He will never stop showing up. His presence does not depend on us—however He never ceases to pursue our hearts. Persistence is God’s way, we only have to meet him where He already is.  We should not be afraid because He is LOVE himself; submitting ourselves to His will as Jesus himself did.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” || LUKE 22:42

For just one act of trust is so much more powerful, than hours or days of consolation/desolation.  For His mercy endures forever (PSALM 136:2).  Let us remember that Jesus deemed us worthy to die on the cross for us.  He has suffered for every sin we have, are, and will ever commit.  He has come to save us.  We need only to surrender to His will, renounce the lies that Satan tells us that lead us to wallow, and RISE UP in His coming salvation, for he has redeemed the world.  Jesus, I Trust In You.  

This is the time of fulfillment.” The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

MARK 1:12-15

Pray🙏🏼 God, I know you are good and just.  I know you hear my every prayer.  Help me to believe in your salvation and great love for me.  Help me to believe beyond my doubt, that you are always with me, always desiring a deeper relationship with me.  Help me to trust.  To answer the call in obedience and submit myself to Your will.  Let your will be done Lord, not mine.  I beg you to draw me close to Your side this Lent as I unite myself to Your suffering.  That I might come to know Your heart and Your love more deeply.  I pray in hope.  Amen.  

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