Disappointment is an everyday thing for most people.
Feeling down the other day, while shopping in the local Walmart, despair got the better of me, and while passing a man who greeted me in the canned goods isle, I stated, 'Life sucks.' Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, he responded, 'I agree.' I guess you could say that both of us were just being honest. I guess you could say that this is just another manifestation of 'the signs of the times' for many people struggling with unemployment and economic woes. I guess you could say that there are many unhappy social wanderers this Christmas season--going largely unnoticed--unnoticed, because they aren't starving people from a Third World country, worthy of our 'check in an envelope.'
Yet, everything is wrong about this picture, to include yours truly.
"For he is like the refiner’s fire,
or like the fuller’s lye.
He will sit refining and purifying silver,
and he will purify the sons of Levi,
Refining them like gold or like silver
that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD." Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24
Christ didn't suffer such a miserable death so that we would receive a magic wand salvation. He suffered so that our suffering would be both a source of our own salvation, and a sign to unbelievers that their suffering had meaning united to the Loving Mercy of God the Father, in Jesus His Son. Suffering brings forth perfect praise, moreover, in humility, compassion, and necessity--the holy trinity of virtues earned in our cross within the Divine fire's of God's Merciful Love.
"Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way." Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 14
With all the suffering a fool like me has undergone, you would think that by now I would have acquired the Wisdom to be more hope filled in public. Think again. 'Good and upright is the Lord; thus he shows sinners the way,' over and over and over again! Stupid am I--faithful is He! Failure (i.e., suffering) is the 'refiner's fire' and the 'fuller's lye' which purifies me of my stupidity in despair--slowly, persistently, lovingly, even in my fall(s) from grace.
The same is/can-be true for you.
"Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.' Luke 1:57-66
Zechariah doubted God and he was struck dumb. He acquiesed to God's Will and he spoke boldly. Quite simply, when we speak from despair--no matter how honest--it has very little power of persuasion. But when we speak from the Will of God the Father, we may be rejected, mocked, and pushed aside by the world--in the sideswipe of PC--but our words still resound with the power of Truth, in the grace which flows from God's Love for us.
And those words, from the Will, and the Love, of the Father, sound like the gospel of Jesus Christ.
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