Doubting or Understanding?
In Memory of Saint Martha
Reflection take from today’s Gospel of John 11:19-27
How many of us have said these same words to God when our child died. “Lord, if you had been there, my (child) would not have died.” Placing blame on God for not performing that miracle and saving our child from death. And yet here Jesus tells Martha about the resurrection and asking her to believe and go deeper with Him.
She had questions. She was confused. She probably was angry. She wanted to understand, but above else, she had to have the conversation with Jesus for anything to actually come of it.
If Martha would have just walked away, do you think that Jesus would have been able to perform that miracle of resurrection?
This moment of conversation needed to happen. Jesus wanted to clarify that anyone who lives and believes in Him will never die.
Do we truly believe this?
You may have heard me say that my faith wasn’t shaken after Talon died. Not in the way it was shaken after Emma died, but at the time I didn’t have the time or the mental capacity to think of what just happened.
The day we buried Talon, I walked into the NICU to learn that Emma too had a serious infection and jumped into what are we going to do now mode.
I tried my best to hold onto to the words of God’s love that I had heard of, but honestly I didn’t really know God like I thought I did. He really was a stranger to me. In fact, I don’t like to admit, that I used God and prayer when I wanted something. So my prayer of desperation began. God you can’t do this to me again.
Little by little there were small miracles that were shown to us that gave us more time with her and I held onto to those small moments of hope. I even began to think that God may still love me.
But those moments came to an end on September 10, 2009 when Emma died. There was no more hope, and no more prayer. I placed so much blame on God. Why didn’t you show up? Why didn’t you save her? You must not love me?
There wasn’t any shaking off. Only permanent darkness, emptiness, sadness, anger, hurt, betrayal, and the list goes on. I felt that I had gotten the short end of the deal. I was dealt a bad hand. I felt so alone. That I must have done something wrong and was being punished. That was my truth, and it consumed my very being. I lost myself. My child like faith, my security, my freedom, the ability to trust anything. I felt that I too had died.
This went on for a very long time. 7 years after Emma died as a matter of fact. Nothing satisfied my broken and battered heart. I would not let anyone in and anything out. I felt hollow.
As time passed, when I finally allowed myself to have a loving conversations with God, not an angry one, you know after that time when you count to 10. Conversations from a place that truly wanted to know and to know Him, and truly wanted to understand and understand Him. I realized I was completely WRONG. My anger had blinded me. I was so laser focused on myself that I didn’t have time to get to know him, and his heart. It wasn’t until then, In humility I had to tell God that I was sorry. It didn’t come easy, you know like when our children reluctantly say sorry after they react in anger and realize this is the only option. This was me. I said it, but it took some time for it to resonate.
God does not promise us the Cross of comfort, but resurrection from it. He promises to sit with us on the days we sit in our puddle of tears. Lovingly stroking our heads.
God truly understands, and He would never ask us to Carry a Cross He was not willing to Carry himself. He is a bereaved Father too.
The wound that was the most painful to Jesus was his shoulder wound where he carried his own Cross. The pain was excruciating and yet He did it anyway for us. He didn't have to, but He did so that we could have eternity with Him. We will receive complete healing from this pain, but only in one place, Heaven. On this side of heaven as we drag our Cross and try to make it to the finish line to eternity we are crucified like Christ. But there can be joy in living with our Cross, but only when we are willing to love it, and to carry it with Him.
Martha was willing to ask all of the questions, not because she doubted her Lord, because she desired to understand her grief, and through these intimate conversations with her Lord, she started to know his heart. And when we know Jesus’ heart carrying our Cross feels a little lighter.
“Chosen souls are, in My hand, lights which I cast into the darkness of the world and with which I illumine it. As stars illumine the night, so chose souls illumine the earth. And the more perfect a soul is, the stronger and the more far-reaching is the light shed by it. It can be hidden and unknown, even to those closest to it, and yet its holiness is reflected in souls even to the most distant extremities of the world. (Diary of St. Faustina, 1601)