How do we find forgiveness, redemption and salvation? Do you feel discouraged? Does God have a plan?
These days because of anxiety about current events in the world or in our lives and fear of the future, some people question if there is a great plan for all of us or whether there is no plan at all. Many feel discouraged or lost. I’ve even heard a line in a recent movie to the effect that God has no plan. Such thinking would have us believe that God just allows things to happen rather than that our sufferings and trials have meaning and are part of the great plan that God has for all of us.
But there is a great plan! The act of creation continues. Far from being abandoned by God, God now takes mere sinful children born of a man and woman on this earth, formed out of clay with a limited lifespan, and offers to make us His adopted children with eternal life!
But to be his adopted children, we must become like his only begotten Son in all things. To be redeemed by Jesus, we must believe in Him and be willing to suffer with Him and to pick up our cross and carry it each day. The prophet Jeremiah has said that the heart of man is deceitful, but through our suffering we can learn obedience and sacrificial love and remain faithful despite things we cannot understand. As John the Baptist preached, we must repent for the remission of sins. This fallen world in which we live is not a cause for despair because there is reason for hope that through our suffering and trials we may learn repentance, confess our sins, reform our lives and be redeemed.
In the Old Testament, the story of Job raised the question of the suffering of the innocent and why bad things happen to good people. Job can only conclude that the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In other words, we cannot fully explain our condition and the bad events that happen to us other than that we live in a fallen world and have lost paradise because of original sin, but we must remain faithful to God through it all. The story of Jesus ultimately gives us the answer. Suffering, if born patiently, can be redemptive and teach us obedience and sacrificial love. But there is hope. In the end, God gave Job twice what he had before because he did not sin but remained faithful despite events he could not explain. However, today we too often repeat the original sin because many men and women seek to make our own rules rather than being faithful to the laws of the Lord. It is no wonder then that we still are excluded from Paradise and remain in this valley of tears.
But the Lord does not leave us abandoned in our suffering. He has given us the example of Jesus and hope in His name. He gives us the power of prayer. More things are accomplished by prayer than this world dreams of. He has also given us the intercession of the saints in heaven and of Mary, the Queen of Heaven. To help those who are suffering He has also sent you and me and told us in Isaiah to share your bread with the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the oppressed and the homeless and do not turn your back on your own. Then you shall cry, and He will answer, then your wound shall quickly be be healed.
Indeed, there is a great plan in which we all have a part! We must recover by penance what we have lost by sin. We must live so that if the angels of God look at you and look at Jesus they will not be able to tell the difference. The way of the cross is how God changes sinful mankind into great saints worthy of eternal life and citizenship in heaven. The act of creation continues and we all have a part.
Praise be Jesus Christ, now and forever
The author was a lawyer for many years. He saw many people overcome immense problems to achieve nearly out of reach goals. Along the way he witnessed that more things are accomplished by prayer than this world dreams of. He hopes these stories of hope, courage, recovery and redemption will serve as an inspiration to all who read them.