Prepare for an ordeal

Ecclesiasticus 2:1-6

1 My child, if you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an ordeal.

2 Be sincere of heart, be steadfast, and do not be alarmed when disaster comes.

3 Cling to Him and do not leave Him, so that you may be honoured at the end of your days.

4 Whatever happens to you, accept it, and in the uncertainties of your humble state, be patient, 5 since gold is tested in the fire, and the chosen in the furnace of humiliation.

6 Trust Him and He will uphold you, follow a straight path and hope in Him.

Are you weary? Does it sometimes seem that every step you take in following the Lord is uphill? If so, you are not alone. Living a life of faith in Christ is hard work! It isn’t the work that saves you, but it is the work that you were saved for.

If you’re hoping I have a shortcut, an easy path to the destiny God has called you to – I don’t. Jesus Himself warned us, “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:14) Why is it difficult? Because those very difficulties strengthen our faith, our commitment, and our perseverance.

Thanks be to God we never walk alone. The Holy Spirit of God is always with us, and He promises “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5), but we must accept His offer of help. We must turn to Him, listen to Him, and follow where He leads.

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

– “What a friend we have in Jesus”, by Joseph M. Scriven (1820-1886)

When you’re weak and worn down, when you want to give up, or take a holiday from life – cry out to Jesus! Watch the Holy Spirit make a way where there was no way possible, and the next step will be easier.

And when life is good and the road has leveled out for a bit, exercise your faith even more. Practice the presence of God – speak to Him and listen to Him. Learn to discern His leading in your life. Prepare for war even in times of peace, and the enemy will never catch you unaware.

Word of God: speak! Non nobis Domine+ by: Fr. Dana Jackson

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