Watching the evening news just makes my stomach churn. I want to be an informed individual, and yet, each time I learn of more awful events happening around the world, I want to throw up my hands in despair. It can seem like there is no hope. Life in our world today is not clean. Actually, has it ever been? I guess we can go all the way back to Adam and Eve to watch the trend begin. Cain and Abel certainly gave us a taste of brutality in action.
As more and more Christians are taken hostage in the Middle East, my heart breaks for them and their families. Is there not something we can do to stop these atrocities? Is it my imagination, or is the whole world just sitting by watching these things happen with more and more frequency? There are many Christians carrying some heavy crosses.
Frequently, we don't have to look across the globe to see people carrying their crosses. There is a lot of pain and suffering close to home as well. It may not be the cross of martyrdom that Middle East Christians are facing, but it can be painful nonetheless. How do we find the strength to carry the crosses in our lives? I don't simply want to throw out a casual response, but I think we essentially pray and seek God's grace, strength, and perseverance. That can be easier said than done at times. I am good at the first part of Jesus' prayer, "Father, let this cup pass from me." It's the second part of the prayer that I have difficulty offering. What was it again?
Today, I offer a prayer for all who are carrying the cross of aging and/or failing health. I clearly remember my own struggles through multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, and a plethora of tests throughout the last three decades in my two battles with cancer and open heart surgery. That is not to mention the WAITING FOR RESULTS from those tests and the anguish that accompanies that process. It is not easy to cope with the reality of suffering and the loss of one's independence. I see that clearly in my mom's own recent experience. Today marks three weeks since her surgery to repair her broken hip. Life has changed immensely for her in literally the blink of an eye.
As we approach the Second Sunday of Lent, my prayer is that we will each experience the love of God as we hear the Gospel account of the Transfiguration of Jesus. May each of us experience grace as we carry our individual crosses and be able to echo the words of Peter,
"Master, it is good that we are here."