Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s on the Lake,
Here is a question I have had rolling around my head: Is Jesus Lord of all my days—both good and bad?
During these days of the Easter Season, we are reading the Acts of the Apostles. We see the Apostles and the Church being led and growing through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. That process of growing was a tumultuous roller coaster ride. Through it all, we see the Apostles and St. Paul leaning into the grace of God for direction and guidance. Among other things, they show us how to stay faithful even during suffering and apparent failure. Doing so, they see God reach in and bring good out of what looks like failure. For them, Jesus was the Lord of all of their days—both the good days and the bad ones.
Case in point was this reading we heard on Tuesday, May 12th from the ministry of Paul:
In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds.
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city.
On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe. (Acts 14:19-20)
This event with Paul is the epitome of a bad day, a bad day that Paul was blessed to survive at all. In the midst of what was a really bad day, Jesus was still Lord. What is most surprising is Paul’s reaction when waking up from his near death. It wasn’t to bemoan his fate. It wasn’t to throw in the towel on ministry because of the recent evidence he wasn’t being successful. It wasn’t to shake his fist at God for abandoning him and turn away from the faith because he endured unjust suffering. Those reactions make sense and will often cross our minds when we experience a bad day.
Rather, Paul’s reaction was to get back up and go right back into the very town he had just been dragged from. God still had work to do, and he was going to finish it. The question that drove Paul no matter the circumstance was: “Jesus, what do you have for me now?” Jesus was Lord of all his days, both the good ones and the bad ones. It was this position of trust that enabled Paul to tell the Philippians from a jail cell: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
No matter the kind of day we are having, remember Jesus is Lord. I know these are frustrating days, a time to grow in and practice patience whether we like it or not as we continue wading through the coronavirus crisis. In the midst of it, may we more intentionally lean into Jesus. May we always be willing to ask: “Jesus, what do you have for me now?”