Face the Challenges
Is it meant to be easy to live a life of faith, believing in something so complex and beyond our understanding? Having a life of faith isn't just a hobby, it applies to every single thing you do, every action you take, every response you have, every decision you make going forward. Many people say that living as a Catholic is 'too much work' or that the effort takes us 'too much time'. In some cases, they're right, it does take effort, and there is a lot of time put in. However, this is a good thing, it's not meant to be easy, it's meant to challenge us to live the best life possible, a life that is not only filled with hope and love, but replicating this love and hope with our families, our friends and the people who need it the most. It's a life that challenges us to be the best version of ourselves, and can only be achieved through having hope, and believing in God's Son, God's love, and God's grace. Are you up to the challenge?
Today's First Reading states: 'And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, "We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us." But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him." When they heard this they were enraged and wanted to kill them' (Acts 5:27-33).
In today's reading we hear about the challenge Jesus' disciples are facing as they teach in Jesus' name, and bring witness of his life, death and resurrection. The leaders are attesting this, will not take any blame and are enraged by the disciples, wanting to kill them. However, they keep pushing forward, they continue on with their mission and lead lives filled with faith and depend on God's guidance. No matter the challenges, we too are called to follow through. There may be difficulties, those that don't understand, but if we do our very best to take every step through God's grace, we will slowly become the best version of ourselves. Take some time to ask God to give you strength to be faithful.
Today's prayer comes from 'the Gospel Coalition' a prayer for faith in God in challenges:
Heavenly Father, many of us are living in seasons of transition and are facing decisions with weighty, long term implications. It’s over-the-top comforting to know you to be the God who works on our behalf. You’re at work in us, around us and through us.
There’s nothing passive or inert about you. You’re not a reluctant deity we have to motivate; a moody lord we have to placate; a celestial computer we need to program; a far away father we have to find; a god of contingencies, fine print, or bait and switch. Indeed, “who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? (Ex. 15:11).
You do anything and everything you want, with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back your hand or say to you: “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35). Whatever pleases you, that’s what you do, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths (Psalm 135:6). Oh, the centering, settling, peace-infusing joy this brings!
So, gracious Father, we trust you to work in our hearts to fulfill your good purposes. Help us find our place in your Story. Give us a greater desire for your glory than for our happiness. Fill us with joy and anticipation, as we surrender to your plans and timing. Keep us from impatient obsessing; “walking by the light of our own torches” (Isa 50:11); and idol-laden scheming. It would be better if we did nothing, than to start leaning again upon the shallow and fragile foundation of our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).
We know everything you purpose is good because everything you purpose has Jesus in view. All of history is being summed up in your Son (Eph. 1:10). Everything you do, Father, you do with the Day in view when every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to your glory (Phil 2:10-11).
So until that Day, we will seek to make our plans in keeping with your Word and the gospel of grace; trusting you to be the God who opens doors we cannot shut, and the One who shuts doors we cannot open (Rev. 3:7-8). Oh, the blessed peace and confidence this brings. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ merciful and majestic name.