My 40-day Miracle Proclamation is coming to an end in the next few days, and I can’t help but reflect on the storms I’ve weathered since I started this journey on January 1. I’ve been told by several people that there are forces of evil that will test you, and when they do, you can be sure it’s because you’re doing something right. I don’t like thinking about that “darker” side of the spiritual world, but I can see how it might be true.
The spiritual challenges I have faced have been many, and are far too private to write about in specific terms. I responded to some of these tests with grace and willingness; others, I fought before surrendering and accepting. And I have also reaped the miracles promised to me. They may seem small: awareness and acceptance of reality, learning about the role I play in my own unhappiness, the appearance of grace and gratitude in the face of loss. Perhaps the greatest miracle of all is that I finally appreciate the being in the desert alone with God. I’ve spent much of my adult life resenting and avoiding the “desert” experience, much like the Hebrew people who wandered there for a generation. I’ve discovered that the desert is where you learn to fully rely on God. The desert is a refuge.
Yesterday at mass, the choir sang a really great gospel song, He Never Failed Me Yet. I posted a version of it under the Weekly One Thing. One of the lines of the song goes, “I will praise and give thanks to Thee/for all the dangers, toils and snares that you have brought me out.” Really? Give thanks for all the tests I’ve faced in this 40-day desert? Give thanks for the disappointment in a friend’s attitude and choices? Thanks for the blow to my parenting abilities? Thanks for the need to admit I was wrong to someone I dislike? For the myriad fears and insecurities? For the losses I’ve experienced? Yep. I’m grateful beyond words for the snares, toils and dangers, because I was given the grace and courage to move through them, grow and even see them as blessings. It is during these worst of moments that I felt closest to God, not because I reached out to Him more, but because He reached out to me.
When I heard Clint Black’s Like The Rain on the radio this afternoon, I didn’t hear a love song. I heard a description of what it now feels like for me to walk through the storms with God. As much as I’ve always had a faith life and relationship with God, I don’t think I ever fully accepted and embraced the storms of my life with Him as I’ve done this past 40 days. I don’t want to go looking for storms, but when they come, I know I am not alone. I know they offer me a special opportunity to deepen my trust in Him.