Someone sat in my office recently and shared a struggle she faces that I really identified with. She said that when she has a big project or a huge challenge she tends to say to God, “I’ve really got to take care of this so I’ll get back to you when I’ve finished.” Some people, when faced with an overwhelming task turn quickly to God and ask for his help. Some people may even shirk their own responsibilities and ask God to take care of things they really need to handle themselves. But others, myself included, when faced with a big job, bear down and work as hard as they can and tend to think they are doing that work all alone. We feel closer to God when things are smooth and peaceful and think we have to solve problems ourselves. Others wander away from God when things are going easily and turn to God when things are rough. Maybe it is even true that we all fall into one of these categories, or the other, and have a pattern of turning to God and wandering away. No human being is always perfectly tuned into God all the time.
Her comment stung me as it articulated that pattern in my spiritual life. When things get rough, I tend to push everyone, God included, to the side and think I’m the only one who can take care of the situation. I don’t like to ask for help from other people. I tend to think my way is the only way, I want control in difficult times, I feel overly responsible, and I grab the reins and don’t want anyone else messing with them. Positively that means that I’m pretty good in a crisis. When things are tough, I’m your man. I’ll rise to the occasion and get things done.
Negatively, that means that I am mistrustful of others. Even worse it means that I don’t naturally involve God in a crisis. I tend to think a crisis is mine to solve and that, when things calm down, then I’ll sit peacefully with God. I may even think that I need to prove something in a crisis so as to get approval from other people and from God.
When do you turn to God and when do you push him aside? Do you reach out to him when things are in turmoil or do you prefer to get back to him after things have calmed down?
The message of our holy scriptures and that of the resurrection, of course, is that God is with us throughout our lives, in times of pain and suffering, and in times of peace and joy. God is so constant in his love for us that our ups and downs are pretty much the same to him. He is there to help us when we are struggling. He is there when all is wonderful. We rise and fall. God remains.
I prefer to get back with God when things have settled down. But, as I admit that, I also must admit that there is a loneliness inside me that I choose. As I attack a crisis God is probably somewhat amused. “There he goes again, grinding away, forgetting that I am leading and guiding.” I’ll see it later, when the crisis is over. I’ll sit in the quiet and it will hit me that I wasn’t alone. And God will wait for me to trust him more.
The only way to grow is honestly admit who you are, describe that to God in prayer, and to recognize his presence. When are the times you turn to God more easily? When are the times you forget him? All of us wander away. God remains. We are never alone.
Seek to be as faithful to the Lord as he is to you. You won’t accomplish it but the striving will be good.
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.
Children’s Christian Formation Director Search
With Ashlee Hooper’s departure scheduled for the end of July, so that she can spend more time with her family, we are actively searching for our next Director of Children’s Christian Formation and ask for your prayers. If you know someone who may be interested in this position, please have them contact Robert. May the Lord lead us to just the right person for this most important job.