Courage in the Storm
November 12, 2021 • 12 min
Sometimes life gets hard. Like, really hard. And you’re just not sure what to do. Or whether you can handle it. But there is hope.
God himself has promised he will help us in our time of need. It may not always be exactly how or when we want it, but it’s always for our good. God always has our best interest at heart. God’s choice is always the best possible way anything could happen for us.
“Cast your anxieties upon him, for he cares about you.” The Holy Spirit inspired that Bible verse to remind us that God is a loving and merciful Father. Not just a father, but He is Love Itself, for “God is Love”. Nothing bad happens to us except if God had decided that somehow ultimately it will be in our best interest.
We must believe this. We must embed this fact in our hearts, and keep it as a shield over our hearts in every difficult moment. Every time we feel like fainting with fear or sadness, we must lean on God’s Infinite Love, and draw strength from his Sacred Heart. “Perfect love casts out all fear.” Lean against the Sacred Heart of Jesus just as St. John did, and God’s perfect love will cast all fear out of you just as it did for him who wrote that.
If possible, go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, in which is actually the real and true Precious Blood, and not just a picture or idea. Unite your sorrowful heart with the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Holy Communion, and he will unite his strength and peace and comfort and consolation with your soul. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
We don’t always have to know why God is allowing certain bad things to happen to us. We just have to trust that, as long as we can’t stop them from happening, then it’s God’s will, and it’s somehow going to be for our best in the long run.
I’m not talking here about things you can stop, and things you should stop. If for example someone is bullying you at school, get help from a trusted adult! If a coworker has robbed you, call the police! “For there is no authority on earth except what has been appointed by God.”
God is the one who said “I will never fail you, nor forsake you.” “Hence we can confidently say, the Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.” God never forsakes us! And he’s always going to be our helper! Shouldn’t this give us confidence that God is on our side? That God loves us and is helping us?
If we look at the problems in our life, and can’t understand that God is letting it happen to us out of his love, we have to understand love and freedom better.
Love means wanting what’s best for someone else, even if you don’t benefit, even at your own expense, even if it costs you everything.
Love in a friendship is highest when the friend is willing to make sacrifices just to help you out, just because you need it.
Love in a marriage is highest when the spouse helps the other spouse even if they get nothing in return, such as if one has become disabled.
Love from a parent is highest when they give their all for the sake of providing their child a good life, not expecting or even wanting anything in return.
This is what God did for us. God gave up his own Life on the Cross to pay for our sins, out of love for us, because otherwise we would have no way to pay for our own sins, and he didn’t want us to have eternal punishment.
But bad things still happen because there’s still the ability to misuse freedom in this life. Freedom means not being a slave to anything. God is completely free. And he gives that freedom to anyone who asks it. But what do we need freedom from? Sin, which enslaves our hearts.
Because there’s sin in the world, bad things are still allowed to happen. But guess what, there’s an upside for us in all this.
Love is shown more perfectly through suffering. “He learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” This connects obedience with suffering, perfection, and salvation. First, he obeyed, which resulted in his death on the cross. Now, we obey him, and sometimes it means bad things happen to us.
But why is suffering necessary to show love? Because it’s a rejection of something else, something contrary to the one we love. When bad things happen to us, the temptation is to try to make them stop on our own. Or at least to make up for the bad things by stealing good things for ourselves, like those men in the parable who wanted to steal the inheritance of the vineyard owner by killing his son.
Sure, we could say, “I’ve suffered enough for today, now I’m going to do this or get that to make up for it.” And sometimes (or often) these plans of ours require us to disobey God’s moral laws. But those actions will never make us happy, only God can, for God is the source, and the creator of happiness, so to speak.
Our obedience to God’s will and laws, even in the midst of bad times, is going to make us happy and good.
So, what’s the upside for us? If we patiently endure whatever problems are happening to us, uniting them with Jesus’s Passion, then in that patient endurance, we are proving to God that we love him! (This is what St. John spoke so much about in his first letter. Read or listen to that letter a lot and meditate on it.)
And love always receives love in return! What reward could be greater than God Himself? And he will give us Himself in return for even a little of our love for him!
This brings us back to freedom. God’s love is the most precious thing. Not just in this life, but ever. Even if God were to create a thousand worlds more perfect and beautiful than this one, or a creature far higher than the highest angels, none of it would compare to even an ounce of God’s love.
Why? Because God’s love is completely free.
When you program a computer to say “I love you” on the screen, it means nothing, because you told it to. When a person receives money to say “I love you,” it means nothing, because they are only saying it in exchange for money.
But God needs nothing from us, and we cannot add anything to the infinitely perfect God. His love is never given out of need, or self-interest, but purely for our sake. Purely because he wants our own good.
Besides this, God has perfect clarity and sees perfectly, unlike us.
If Hitler were to condemn me, I would not bat an eye, because his judgment is clearly flawed.
If a 2 year old says I’m mean, I’m not going to lose sleep over it. What does a 2 year old know about the concept of mean, let alone my character?
Even a grown adult cannot see the secret recesses of my heart like I can, so their judgments have no ground or basis in the reality of my soul, only guesses.
So when someone says “I love you” or “I hate you”, it’s not a reflection of us, but a reflection of them, of their character, of their heart, and largely independent of us, except insofar as they can see any truth about us from the distance they are from the innermost secrets of our souls.
But God sees us as we truly are! “God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.” God’s vision of us is “piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joint and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him, no creature is hidden, but all are open, and laid bare to the eyes of him, with whom we have to do.”
So who can possibly say “I love you” more meaningfully than God can? Whose love can possibly be as detrimental if taken from us, or moving if given to us, compared to the infinitely perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, and all-merciful love of God!
And this is the very thing which God has given us. Not only himself, but his Love. This is the greatest gift we could possibly receive.
If we consider what gifts, what favors, what sacrifices people on earth make for each other out of a much lower love, how can we imagine God will do any less for us? Or rather, what makes us think he will not do far more for us?
So if we’re in the middle of difficulties, we have to, absolutely positively must look for God’s Love in the middle of it. If we don’t see it, we have to look harder, because it’s really and truly there. In the midst of all our sufferings.
Jesus is truly within the depths of our souls whenever we are suffering. When St. Catherine of Sienna asked where he was during her intense sufferings, he answered that he was with her in the deepest part of her heart, hidden from her, but watching her, strengthening her, and guiding her through the sufferings.
Jesus does the same thing for us. When we feel like we can’t stand one more minute of this bad thing in our life, and we look around for Jesus and don’t see him, it’s because he’s already in our hearts, in the deepest part, protecting us. Upholding us. Strengthening us. Guiding our hearts safely through the storm, as a quiet, gentle breeze, that whispers into our souls, “here I am, I am here for you, with you, and I love you.”
We just have to trust it and believe it. And know that Jesus is there already. Waiting for us. He may seem like he’s sleeping in the boat, but he’s just giving us time to prove our love for him, so he can reward us with his own love even more than we can imagine.
And on that day, when we finally receive the full payment of our love for God, there will be such rejoicing in Heaven, that we will all ask ourselves, “really? Is that all I went through, for this great reward? Looking back, it seems as bad as a papercut!”
Pray, hope, and don’t worry. God is with you. God is in you. He is your strength. Trust in him. Say “Jesus, I trust in you.” And “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” And “increase our faith.”
Jesus asks, “and will God not hear the prayers of those who cry out to him day and night? He will vindicate them, and speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Yes Jesus, you will find faith in us. We believe. We will wait patiently for you to help us in your way and in your time. We love you. Thank you for your great love. Help us to love you more. Amen.