Tag Archives: suffering

Minivan Evangelization?

Have I mentioned we are doing a Passion Play and that my son has the part of Jesus? I also have children playing the parts of St. Peter, St. John, one of the Weeping Women of Jerusalem and the Narrator.  I am the Stage Manager, which basically means no one else wanted the job, especially since it entails hauling wooden crosses, backdrops, props and costumes. I am so thankful that God has blessed me with my minivan!

Speaking of my minivan, today I evangelized to a couple thousand people in about 2 hours. How? Well, all you have to do is strap some huge crosses onto the top of your minivan and drive down a highway around rush hour. Then, you discover that the bridge is closed because of a “crane” accident, and you take an hour-long detour with all your fellow commuters. Finally, when you have made it across the river on a different bridge, you find yourself on a detour of a detour! Yes, the route I selected detoured me again because of another street closing. Basically, God allowed me to ride around our city for a solid two hours with people looking at us, and pointing, and some even honking. Because I am optimistic, I think those honks were in support of Jesus.

Meanwhile, my son who will be on the Cross next week during our Passion Play, had to carry the base of his cross because it would not fit anywhere else in the car. At one point, he had nails digging into his skin. He became very uncomfortable. I really felt his pain and tried to help the best I could while navigating stop-and-go traffic. But the base is very heavy, and we didn’t know there were nails in the bottom, plus there wasn’t much I could do to help except be in his pain with him, like the Blessed Mother was with Jesus.

I have to say that seeing your son dying on a Cross is a very emotional moment. I am curious how his father/my husband will do when he sits in the audience and sees this for the very first time on the evening of our live performance. I hope he has a hanky with him!

 

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The Worst News Ever?!

Here’s a roundup of the news I have received from this past week: Stroke. Car accident. Death. Terminal illness. Back strain. Divorce. Alcoholism.

Now, before you think all of these things happened to me, well, they did and they did not. What I mean to say is that I would argue all of this does in some way happen to you when you have a large family full of love and brokenness. Yes, some of the suffering is self-inflicted, but some of the suffering comes on in its own.

Our response to suffering shows a really clear picture of where we stand emotionally, morally and spiritually. It’s why one of my friends who is a Protestant minister likes to perform funerals. She says that it is when the suffering is at its peak, so the people are most open to hearing God’s Word. Their hard hearts have been cracked, just a little, by the loss. They become real again, facing things that they have ignored for a long time.

My prayer has always been to let God help me see through the light of Christ, so that when the suffering comes, whether of my own making or on its own, I am strengthened and can give God glory even in those moments.

I was deeply impacted when I watched a news report about 10 years ago when a man lost his entire family in a freak flash flood which washed his minivan off the highway into flash river in a location where this had never occurred before. During his interview, he explained that he and his wife had adopted many children with disabilities. They were all in the car. When the water came over their car, he could not get to his family because he was sucked out through the front windshield. He watched his wife and all of his adopted children get pushed down into the river in their minivan.

His response was, of course, sorrow. But, he said he could not be mad at God. This happened in his life and he trusted God had a plan for him. He quoted the Bible verse that speaks to trusting in God with all your heart. I had never witnessed what that meant until I saw this man on television. He was that Bible verse.

I pray that God will show me how to trust him in those dark moments. I pray that my prayers for my family bring healing and love. I pray that suffering can be offered up for the whole world and make our world a place of deep, abiding peace. I know suffering will come. I hope that I am ready.

Who knew suffering could be this good?

Last week, my family got hit with a really nasty cold virus. It started with one child, then spread through the rest of the family like wildfire. This was a quick onset,
take-you-down kind of viral attack. After 5 days, our house looked like a bomb went off inside of it. This illness was full of aches, pains and lost sleep. To sum it up in a word: suffering.

However, I looked at this week of suffering entirely different than I had in the past:

Being this miserably sick allowed us to cancel all outside activities and just “be”. We spent more time together as a family, even if we were not feeling so great. We even read a few classic stories out loud (whoever’s voice was working at that time), even if some fell asleep in the midst of it.

I had a chance to finally read some books and writings that fed my soul. The bonus was it was pretty much uninterrupted reading because my family was napping or just resting. Granted, I couldn’t read for very long or my mind would begin to swim. However, with this type of reading, you need time to digest the material anyway.

I realized why many holy people face illness. It gives them plenty of prayer time! I think I spoke more to God during those five days than I usually do in a few weeks. And it wasn’t just, “Please spare me from this illness!”

It may seem like a paradox, but I actually grew closer to God through me and my family’s illness. He gave me the strength to stay present with Him through this week and rely on Him in all things. And now that we are all recovered, I am still feeling God’s presence very, very close to me. Wow. Who knew suffering could be this good?