I have some friends who are facing difficult seasons in their lives. One of them has a husband with cancer. Another has a wife with cancer. Two of my friends recently lost their jobs. These are all scenarios we would rather not find ourselves in. We would never choose them. And yet, there are people who do choose the hard way. A book I am currently reading about a nun who has mystical experiences tells about women in a convent who desire to share in Christ's sufferings. If you read the writings of faithful and godly people like St. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and Julian of Norwich you will find this theme as well. They request pain and affliction in order to be closer to Jesus. We really have no concept of that in our comfort-driven, pain-avoiding culture. We do not consider it an honour to suffer.
I had a dream a few days ago in which I conversed with some of my friends who are in seasons of discomfort. We talked about the things that God chooses for us versus the things we choose for ourselves, and how the two are not always the same. I remember saying something similar to these words in the dream: "Whatever God chooses for you, embrace it. Let his choices for our lives become our choices in life. Then we are making space for something really significant to happen."
I don't want to fight against what God has chosen to bring into my life. He promised suffering. Why do I resist it? He promised challenges. Why do I cower in the face of them? He promised to always be with me. Why do I turn away from his nearness?
Today, let me choose what Jesus chooses.
the photo: several planes of images at St. Joseph's Oratory: reflected stained glass, ironwork, a glass door, and my hands.