The other day, a friend revealed a story about a young man who was so depressed such that he took his own life. The young man felt everyone was against him for taking an unpopular stand. He was cyber-bullied and was shamed in school. He felt lost and betrayed by everyone, so much so that he must have felt so down and so alone which eventually led to that fateful decision.
There are times that you feel so burdened with challenges that you feel the Lord is so far and is so quiet: “There are injustices committed”, “Corruption is still prevalent”, “The children are having problems in school”, “Debts are piling up”, “Health is failing”, “I’m so alone, no one is with me”, etc. etc. You feel that He is indifferent to your needs and prayers. You ask, “Why do bad things happen to me?”, or “Is God sleeping”. It can even take the worse, sometimes questioning your faith, “God, are you real?”
In the First Reading (Hab. 1: 2-3; 2:2-4), the prophet cried out,
“How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord.”
And yet the Lord responded,
“Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.”
God is telling us to be patient, as things will turn for the better in due time, in His time. It “will not disappoint, if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late”. He is the God of the Universe and so it’s His call when to intervene. All things are allowed for a reason: it is to toughen us, to build our faith, to test our patience. Only He knows what the future holds, so we just have to trust Him and hang on. We are still endowed with free will so it’s really up to us if we want to survive these challenges and persevere in our faith.
In the Gospel (Lk. 17: 5-10), the apostles were asking the Lord to “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied,
“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,‘ and it would obey you.”
Faith can move mountains, as they say. The Lord wants to assure us that He is in control. Regardless of what happens, we must be joyful for having Him behind our back. He is “our strength, our rock, our fortress, our deliverer, our shield, our stronghold!” (Ps. 18: 2-3).
May we take to heart St. Paul’s message in the Second Reading (2 Tim. 1: 6-8, 13-14),
God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.”
May we be always faithful to Him, to be on guard yet secure, to be watchful yet confident and to persevere in the faith.
“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Ps. 95: 8)