February 6, 2015

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Let God use you as an ambassador of faith

Patti LambMy beloved 86-year-old aunt, on whom rheumatoid arthritis has already wreaked havoc, recently suffered a stroke. After intensive rehabilitation, she is finally back in her apartment at an assisted living facility, but she requires more care these days.

When I visited her last week, an aide had just left after assisting her with bathing. When I asked my aunt if she felt better after the shower, she said, “Oh, I don’t feel much better, but I think my aide did.”

My aunt went on to explain that the aide was a young women with four children and a stressful home life. The two got to talking, and my aunt shared a few stories about how God saw her family through some rough times. The young aide was inspired by the stories, and she smiled when my aunt kept saying, “God bless you, honey,” during the bathing process, a simple routine my aunt wasn’t up to without assistance.

“Will you pray for me?” the aide asked my aunt before she left her room. My aunt assured her of heartfelt prayers.

I commented that I thought the aide needed my aunt more than my aunt needed her.

I’m realizing more and more that God doesn’t always use us in the ways we expect.

My girlfriend, a bright and talented professional, was recently reassigned to a new supervisor at work. Her new boss tends to micromanage. He’s a troubled soul under a lot of work pressure, in addition to some apparent distress at home. Unfortunately, this boss allows his unhappiness to seep out on his work colleagues, especially his direct reports. A star performer in the past, my girlfriend can’t do anything to please this new supervisor.

“It must be frustrating to work so hard and have your efforts met with nothing but criticism,” I said to my friend.

My friend’s reply surprised me.

“Maybe we are meant to work together so I can introduce him to God,” she said.

“I try to show him kindness and weave the importance of faith into conversation when I get the opportunity,” she continued.

God isn’t just using my friend at a pharmaceutical company. He’s also using her as an ambassador for himself.

God Calling, one of my favorite books, has a passage titled “The Roundabout Way.” The passage talks about God leading us to unexpected places, but not for our own need. The passage ends with: “I am not choosing ways to fret and tire—just to fret and tire; We are out to save. You may not always see the soul we seek. I know.”

Life throws us times when we want to throw our hands up and say, “This is not what I signed up for.”

When I face times like that, I imagine hearing the young voice of our Blessed Mother saying, “I understand how you feel, but God is only good and faithful.”

Whether we are custodians or surgeons; parents or without children; rich or poor; old or young—it doesn’t matter. God is at work in all of us. I’m noticing how God uses us in unexpected ways to show his heart to the world. I think this is especially true when we find ourselves in circumstances very different than we had hoped.

That passage from God Calling that I quoted above also says: “We are seeking lost sheep; We are bringing the kingdom into places where it has not been known before.”

So I say to myself, “Keep calm and witness on.” It will all be worth it.

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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