God is Near Us, in our Difficulties
by Father Ed Gibney, St gabriel Catholic Church
In this time when the entire world is facing the affliction of spreading illness and even death, it is a good time to listen to the words of Hosea as he offers us guidance to understand why there are any difficulties in our lives.
He says, “When Ephraim and Judah acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, then they shall cry out to me.”
One positive thing that can grow out of earthly difficulties is that we can be drawn to recognize our need of God. Therefore, whether it is individual afflictions that trouble each of us or the wider pandemic the world faces today, it is valuable to look upon these difficulties in the light of the sinful imperfections in our lives that have separated us from God, and the mercy that God offers to draw us back.
Now, I am not suggesting that COVID or any of the other afflictions we face are the result of sin; as if they were God's punishments, but these difficult times create for us a good opportunity to contemplate how we could be living our lives better. Unfortunately it is human nature that we continue in our imperfect ways until we face some calamity which shocks us into remembering the importance of God in our lives.
In these cases, the difficulties we face cause us to look beyond ourselves and recognize how all of us need God’s assistance. In times of affluence, happiness, health and peace, God is often forgotten, but in the face of adversity there is a tendency for humanity to raise its mind to heaven. Again through Hosea the Lord tells us, “In their distress they will beg my favour,” and we will respond, “Come, let us return to the Lord for he will heal us.”
In times of difficulty we seek forgiveness for careless, self-serving days; to seek the favour of God which has been lost through our own actions; to seek the help which, in better days, has been ignored. We often need to face difficulties that humble us before we again place our trust in God. And those that turn to God, in humility and with a contrite heart, will not do so in vain.
But for those who have accepted the need for humility in their lives it is not necessary to face affliction before turning to God. Humility acknowledges God’s helping hand in all things, every day, and so the humble can seek a closer relationship with God, without the afflictions that arise in the world.
God calls us to humility for humility assists our trust in God, and our trust in God is a sign of our humble love for God.
May God Bless you and keep you safe.

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