June 7, 2019

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Let’s joyfully live out God’s will in a way that gives him glory

Patti LambRecently, I received a card in the mail from my Aunt Cathy. It’s always a joy to receive a handwritten note via snail mail these days. I found it in my mailbox on a Friday at the end of a seemingly long week.

She included a photo of her newest grandchild, a handsome little tyke, sitting in his highchair wearing the biggest grin and a pair of rubber eyeglasses. I had no idea a child so small could even wear glasses.

Aunt Cathy wrote this on the back of the photo: “This is Lizzie’s Jackson. He is our spring blessing. He just turned one year old!”

She went on to write that my cousin Lizzie’s youngest child was born with some vision challenges. She explained that in addition to crossed eyes, the eye specialist found that Jackson is extremely farsighted. Her little grandson’s glasses are framed with rubber and kept in place with an elastic band to secure them.

Aunt Cathy wrote that when Lizzie put the glasses on Jackson for the first time, he cried at length. He wanted nothing to do with this foreign object his parents had placed on his face. He fussed until he ran out of energy. He had no idea that his parents were doing this to improve his vision and the quality of his life. Through tears, he fought the idea of the glasses.

“But then he saw a wonderful, new world,” Aunt Cathy wrote.

Now he’s this happy little boy who sees well enough to pick up the Cheerios scattered on the tray of his high chair.

And in that moment, it struck me that I’m a lot like Jackson. When life presents me with uncomfortable or difficult situations that I definitely didn’t ask for, I fuss and fight those situations. I pray for God to change things. I badger him with repeated petitions and pleading, often through tears. To God, it probably comes off as an adult temper tantrum.

In Scripture, we are reminded that God wants only the best for his children.

“Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him” (Mt 7:9-11).

I know that God is pure goodness and love, but the human part of me struggles with wanting it my way. I can’t properly cite the source, but I recently read a quote about life becoming easier when our will to please God outweighs our will to please the world—and ourselves.

God richly blesses us, but I miss the gifts he showers upon me when I’m chasing “better” or “perfect” and “my way.” Do you ever find yourself doing that?

Maybe your plans included a baby, or a faithful spouse or a different job. Maybe you were counting on a far better diagnosis from the doctor. Perhaps you had higher hopes for where you would be at this point in your life.

I’m learning that God’s divine plans far outweigh our human ones. That, coupled with the fact that this is not God’s kingdom, reminds me that it’s all good—just as it is right now.

Despite the suffering and disappointment that comes with being human, how can we joyfully live out God’s will for us in a way that gives him glory?

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

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