I remember when my husband was still alive, he would say “why do you always say you are wrestling with God?” The short answer to this is I am very aware that Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6-11). Jesus didn’t say a few lucky sinners would slip through the cracks, or several might get a free pass. No, Jesus said, NO ONE comes to the Father except through Him. So, this is why I wrestle because I know this Truth and, yet, I often still want to have “my will be done”. I want to say “yes, with these conditions.” If we are honest, we all do this to one degree or another. We want to be God and when we play God, we stop trusting God because we think we know better. We allow sin to slowly creep into our life and if we are not careful, we end up completely rebelling against God.
When I think about wrestling with God, I have this image of Jesus standing firmly planted, strong in appearance, and me, beating on His chest, asking lots of questions, like “Why?” “Why do bad things happen? Why did you do this to me? Why can’t I just have things my way?” I am completely okay with wrestling with God. For me, it is a necessity in my life. The alternative to wrestling with God, is wrestling with the devil, and I don’t want to go there. My personal image of the devil is a Jim Carey-like figure (no offense, Jim Carey) who gets you into trouble and then when things have become a mess, he slowly tiptoes out of the room, with a Cheshire cat grin, saying: “Wow, you have really made a mess out of your life, gee, look at the time, I’ve got to go!” Don’t mess with the evil one. He is very real.
We live in a society where sin has become glamorous, acceptable and in a lot of cases, just normal and expected. We have forgotten the seriousness of sin–we have forgotten that NO ONE comes to the Father through sinning. The only way to the Father is through Jesus, most especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and sincere repentance. Sin ruins our relationship with God and others. We see this in Genesis 3.
I can’t remember if it was this week of Re-Routing or not, but one of our priests said you are either walking toward the darkness or you are walking toward the Light. I understand this. It is so easy to get re-routed in the wrong direction! It can be so easy to turn away from God if we are not on guard. “Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11. I talked about this with my kids this week. We talked about saying things to each other that hurt each other. When we do this, we are not only hurting each other, we are hurting God. When we don’t seek forgiveness from each other, we end up continuing a pattern of saying things that we don’t mean. We let the devil take over our interactions. If we seek forgiveness from each other and say we are sorry, we are walking toward the Light. We are interrupting the destructive path of the devil. If we hold onto grudges or bitterness toward each other, we are walking toward darkness. I pray this week we can all help each other walk towards the Light.
From my prayer journal:
Heavenly Father, I often wonder why things happen the way they do. I often forget that you have your hand in everyone’s life, not just mine—even when we are in sin, you are right there waiting for us to turn back to you. Thank you for all the times in my life when you have been so patient with me. Thank you for loving me through the bad times. Thank you for taking on my sin, not only once in a while, but every time! Please do not grow weary of me because I am still a sinner in need of a Savior. Help me to never forget the seriousness of sin because I want to live free and I long to live in union with You. I want to love purely—forgive me for the times I have failed to do this. Give me the strength and courage to stand up against the games of the devil.
I pray for those who are in spiritual battle even if they don’t know it. I pray for my parish family that we will stay close to you through prayer so as to build a fortress to protect us from the attacks of the evil one. Help us to know that we are worthy of your love and there is nothing that we have done, that will make you abandon us, if we would just let you into our life fully and completely, and without hesitation. Please bring us closer to being the missionary disciples you have called each one of us to be. We need you.