This may surprise you. But there are some
things that God cannot do! Seven of them!
God cannot remember sins He has forgotten.
He cannot be given a job He cannot handle.
He can never leave you. He can never be indifferent
to your needs. He cannot change. He can never
be surprised by anything! And above all,
He just cannot stop loving you!
This came to my mind when I was reading the
weekly column that Helen Middlebrooke writes
on the Sunday local paper. She is a mother
of nine children. One of them, six year old
Deborah has Down Syndrome. "What she
lacks, I make up. I am her voice, her nerve
endings, her legs. But she has given me back
my mother's soul; it's more than a fair trade."
According to Helen herself, Deborah gave
her much more. "There has been many
times in the last six years I've wished that
my life could again be 'normal', if only
for one day. But wishing for 'normal' means
wishing away Deborah and I would never do
that, even for a moment. Deborah is as God
made her. To make me as He wants me to be."
Through Deborah, Helen is becoming the beautiful
woman God wants her to be.
This may be hard to understand. Many times
we have a rather softy idea of God. God becomes
a syrupy mushy super-being, full of sentimental
overtones. This God is very alien from the
God we find in the Scriptures.
There we find a God who is always pursuing
us. He wants to track us down to bring us
back to our senses!
Ask Moses. He was forty years in the desert
when he looked over his shoulder and saw
a bush blazing. God had followed him into
the wilderness. Jonah was a fugitive on a
boat when he looked over his shoulder and
saw clouds brewing. God had followed him
onto the ocean.
The storm was bad. The disciples of Jesus
thought it was all over. They thought they
would sink. But then they saw Jesus walking
toward them. God had followed them into the
storm. Lazarus was three days dead in a sealed
tomb when he heard a voice, lifted his head,
and saw Jesus standing. God had followed
him in the tomb.
Peter had denied his Lord and gone back to
fishing when he heard his name and looked
over his shoulder and saw Jesus cooking breakfast.
God had followed him in his failure. John
the Apostle was banished on Aegean Sea island
of Patmos when he looked over his shoulder
and saw the skies begin to open. God had
followed him into his exile.
There is a very powerful story in Genesis
that perhaps some of us fail to realize its
full meaning. It speaks about Jacob.
Jacob was a devious kind of a person. He
had managed to steal the blessing from his
brother. He had worked his way to marry a
beautiful woman and make quite a fortune
in cattle. He was a controller and a manipulator.
However God intervened. And for one night
He wrestled with him. It was dark, the struggle
was fierce, and the odds were high. "Seeing
that He could not master him, He struck him
in the hip socket, and Jacob's hip was dislocated
as He wrestled with him".
God has to physically immobilize Jacob to
prevail over his dangerous self will. It
was painful; it broke him. But it was the
only way that God could remove the old sick
nature from Jacob. Now Jacob is a new man.
Even his name is new - Israel, strong with
God. No longer would Jacob walk in his own
strength. He would now have to lean on a
cane, symbolic of his leaning on God alone.
God is good. His goodness is not however
the mawkish kind of syrupy love that we think
it should be. Many times it resembles more
the love of the surgeon who uses the scalpel
to bring out the inside tumor that is poisoning
our lives and our relationships.
Sometimes, like Jacob, we necessitate a time
of immobilizing, a loss of a job, loss of
income, loss of health, loss of a close relationship.
These are His methods of preparation.
I went to see The Chronicles of Narnia based
on a CS Lewis novel. The Deep Magic, the
Law of Narnia stated - as the Witch clearly
explained - "that every traitor belongs
to me as my lawful prey and that for every
treachery I have a right to kill." So,
the traitor Edmond belonged to the Witch.
But Aslan, as a willing victim, died in Edmond's
place and after coming back to life he explained
to Lucy and Susan: "The Witch knew the
Deep Magic, but there is a magic deeper still
which she did not know. Her knowledge goes
back only to the dawn of Time. But if she
could have looked a little further back,
into the stillness and the darkness before
Time dawned, she would have read there a
different incantation. She would have known
that when a willing victim who has committed
no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead,
the Table would crack and Death itself would
start working backwards."
God keeps following us … even in death! Deo
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
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