Word Magazine February 1979 Page 19
“SINGING THE BLUES?”
Homily by Father James C. Meena
When we are feeling depressed, as though our contacts with God have been disrupted, or when we question the wisdom of God or wonder if God is even there, it’s time for us to look into the Scriptures which are full of instances when the people of God felt precisely this way, and when God reminded them of the perfection of His concern for their well-being. When we labor under a great deal of stress or tribulation, rather than wondering whether God has forsaken us, we should realize that God often chastens and strengthens us through suffering and pressure.
The anxieties that we feel were also felt by His most faithful disciples and followers. Isaiah, that great prophet, addressing a people who were supposed to believe in God says: “How can you say, O Jacob, and how can you insist, O Israel, my destiny is hidden from the Lord, my rights are ignored by my God? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is an everlasting God. He created the boundaries of the earth. He does not grow tired. He does not weary. His understanding is beyond understanding. He gives strength to the wearied. He strengthens the powerless. Young men may grow tired and weary. Youths may stumble, but those who hope in the Lord renew their strength. They stretch out wings like eagles. They run and do not grow weary. They walk and never tire . . . (Isaiah 40:27-31) A fantastic admonition by a prophet who had suffered greatly at the hands of those to whom he was preaching, who must have felt many anxieties and often wondered whether God heard his prayers. But he makes an emphatic promise that though we may question and sometimes doubt, those who hope in God will have their faith renewed and that they will take on wings and soar like eagles.
When God’s people were feeling pessimistic and abandoned, they heard these words: “I will pour out my strength upon mankind. Your sons and daughters shall prophecy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. Even on my slaves, men and women, in those days I will pour out my spirit. I will display portents in heaven above and signs on earth below. The sun will be turned to darkness, and the moon into blood before the Great Day of the Lord dawns. All who call the name of the Lord will be saved”. (I underscored the word “WILL”, rather than “SHALL” because a semantic nuance can change the meaning of a phrase. Our salvation is assured not by some accident that “shall” happen, but by Divine Will.) (Acts 2:17-21.)
Wondering? Then listen! “Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him”. (I Cor. 2:9-Isaiah 64:3) It would not be necessary for us to have faith in Him if He showed us all things. But the imagination of man cannot possibly conceive, nor the greatest authors, the greatest painters, the greatest poets and musicians possibly describe in the most noble masterpieces the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. “The Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes may have life in Him, may not be lost but may have eternal life. For God sent His Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him would be saved”. (St. John 3:14-17)
When you are feeling as though the lines of communication between you and God have been disconnected, be assured the fault is not God’s, although He sometimes permits His servants to be tried through stress, tension, anxiety and even physical pain, to see how steadfast faith really is, and though He lets Satan tempt us as He allowed him to tempt Job with misery, even as He allowed him to tempt His own Son with all the pleasures and power of the world, He does not abandon us. The circuit is shorted out on our end of the line.
When we think that our burdens are too heavy to bear, let us take a little time to visit a hospital, a nursing home, a Veterans rehabilitation center or a county institution and see those whose burdens are infinitely greater than ours. Our burdens will seem as nothing compared to those whom we visit, and as we see real suffering, sometimes without hope because we fail, in our own self-pity, to impart hope to them . . . let us remember that. . . God does not forget! God does not forsake us! For He loved us so much that He gave His only Son that we would be saved.