Sunday, October 11, 2015

How Do You Do It?

"PEACE I LEAVE with you;
MY PEACE I give to you.
NOT as the world GIVES do I Give to you.
Let not your HEARTS be tRouBled,
neither let them bE afRaid."

How do you do it? If you're really that sick all the time, how do you take care of your kid? How do you keep her clothes clean and her hair brushed? How do you get supper on the table? How do you play with her? How do you smile at her? How do you even get out of bed? Honestly, I have no idea, but it gets done. Sometimes I have help; sometimes I'm all she has. Still, do you ever catch yourself thinking:
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"If only I'd get better..."
"If only I'd win the lottery..."
"If only I could have a baby..."
"If only I'd qualify for disability..."
"If only I could afford a bigger place..."
"If only my husband would move back in..."
"If only God would get me out of this mess..."

These aren't prayers. They're predictions. And it never quite works, does it, even when that "if only" is fulfilled, because there is one if-then statement we can actually count on holding true: IF it's not one thing, THEN it's another. That's life for everyone, Christian or not. It's true. Going to church won't to get you any better odds in the Powerball. In fact, it's going to make you a whole lot less popular in this hate-a-Christian-bigotry-free-because-that's-what's-in-vogue culture of ours.

So why bother going? ...the spiteful world demands of us. Because True Peace is something the world doesn't understand. True Peace sustains us while we're dying of the cancer God didn't cure, and it comforts us while we weep over the grave of our child whom God let die. True Peace is what we strive to find while suffering with pain day after day after day when we know we're never going to get better. I have to know that True Peacethe peace that surpasses all understandingexists even when the pain doesn't go away, that it is a gift given to us by God, won for us by Christ, that it has nothing to do with me or how I feel, or I will go mad.

True Peace doesn't come from a cure. 
Anyone who's beaten cancer once, or more than once, will tell us that.
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It's a relief to be sure, but True Peace doesn't come from that one bad thing being taken off our backs or from finally getting what we think we want or even need. The True Peace of God allows us to be at peace DESPITE the fact that everything around us going wrong because true peace has nothing to do with what's going on around us or inside us or because of us. It's about what Jesus did for us. And so, to the world, we're delusional at best; idiots at worst. Without the gift of the Holy Spirit, you and I would surely turn away from God in our sorrow, too, finding shallow "peace" only on a good day.

If happiness depends on all our "if onlies" being met at the right time, no one would ever be happy. In our baptism, the Holy Spirit gave us a beautiful child-like faith thatwhile not left untestedis able to withstand anything the world can throw at us in its attempt to make life unbearable, including death. 

If only someone would make up for all my sins and I'd know I'd go to heaven,
then I could deal with anything here.

Don't miss the forest for the trees. With our precarious view of the good in spite of the bad, pray each day for the Holy Spirit to grant you a mustard seed of faith that truly will move mountains. Thank God for the ability to believe the impossible and for the peace that allows beautiful Moms everywhere to get up morning after painful morning and greet their children (or hope for children yet to come) with a genuine smile in spite of the pain they are in, because even though God may not heal the painand oh, how we pray that He would!He will never allow the pain to steal love from a Mom's heart. That's how I do it even if I am so sick: I love. Or rather, that's how God does it through me.
"Woman Praying"
Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret
"With man, this is impossible,
BUT with GOD
all things are POSSIBLE." 
No one expects you to do it alone, least of all God. Go to church where we are renewed Sunday after Sunday after Sunday through Word & Sacrament with that free gift of True Peace that surpasses all understanding.
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