Listening to myself

8:18 PM

So, this year we put together a book of meditations for Lent. People wrote meditations based on the Lectionary readings for the day for each day of the season. When I remember, I read them in the evening sometime between dinner and bedtime. Lo, and behold, I wrote the meditation for today some weeks ago, back before I melted down. And so, I share it with you.

Monday, March 17, 2008
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Paul’s Thanksgiving after Affliction

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, 4who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ.

There’s a rather famous quote attributed to Mother Theresa: “I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.” It makes me think of this reminder given to the Corinthians by Paul regarding our abundant consolation through Christ.

While I was looking around for the quote earlier this evening, I found a number of listings discussing its veracity. Does God give us more than we can handle? Sometimes it seems that way. I’ve felt this way myself more than once over the past couple of years. Whether it’s one of those bad things that come in threes or a personal tragedy, a natural disaster or simply the last straw, sufferings are a-plenty. All we need to do is look around to see that. Yet, I believe Mother Theresa was right.

God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. God pushes us right to our limits, but then God provides us with consolation. The kicker for us is that we need to remember it’s available. It is our responsibility to approach God when we need consolation, which isn’t easy. It isn’t easy for me. In times of affliction, I don’t want to talk to God. I don’t want consolation. I want to be angry, upset, and inconvenienced by what God is asking of me. And after I’ve been in a snit and I wonder how anyone could be expected to handle what life has dished out this time, I remember not the words of Paul, but the words of our baptismal covenant: I will, with God’s help.

I will, with God’s help. In the Garden, Jesus asked God to “let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” I will, with God’s help. As Jesus approached God for strength and for consolation so must we. For our God is the God of all consolation, and as we receive consolation, we may console others. We do not need to shoulder our suffering and our affliction in solitude. God can be demanding and often we are given more than we can manage on our own, but we are not meant to do it alone.

I will, with God’s help.

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