“Jesus, I love you; Jesus, I trust you; Jesus, I thank you.” I have taken to saying this litany many times throughout the day. I like to think of my relationship with Jesus as being very simple. Love, trust, and thankfulness are what helps me make sense of what I experience in life and how I need to include Jesus in all that occurs; from the mundane to those life situations that at times test my relationship with Him. As I look at each element of my relationship with Christ, I know that I have unwavering love for God. In all that occurs, the good, the bad, the ugly – I love Him. As much as I love Christ I do from, time to time, find myself questioning why life experiences turn out the way they do.
Recently a good friend of mine who lives in St. Louis, Missouri, was able to get a referral to the Mayo hospital in Rochester for surgery for cancer in his arm. Joe had been suffering with arm pain for a long time and he finally was going to get relief. I had flooded the heavens with prayers for Joe. Many rosaries later, my prayers and those of many more were being answered. The surgery went well, and we all were happy that he was on the road to being free of the pain.
A long story short, right after surgery he developed blood clots in his lungs along with other unexpected issues. It was time to storm the heavens with prayer again; rosaries, intercessory prayer, novenas. God had helped him get this far, surely it was just another bump in the road, after all, he was at Mayo. Two weeks later Joe was dead. His wife, his daughters, his siblings, his friends, in a state of shock. There was no indication that it was anything more than an operation to relieve the pain in his arm.
As much as I love Jesus, this truly tested my trust in him. What about all the prayers? Where did they go? What good were they? My mind tells me that he is with God. My heart tells me that we have lost someone we love and who loved us. Jesus didn’t ask us what we thought; he claimed what was his and took Joe to himself. But what about all the prayers, all the tears, all the memories that would never be? Wasn’t God listening?
As I reflect on Joe’s death and the pain it brings to those left behind, I am reminded that our life’s journey is only a drop in an everlasting pool. That we are created for so much more. God asks us to trust that he knows what he is doing no matter how much it hurts. It is hard to do because we want to be in charge and our loved one’s death isn’t part of how we want to live our life. The prayers are not lost. As time passes it will become easier to see that our efforts were not in vain; they helped us through a difficult time and God continues to comfort us as we realize that our loved one is right where God created him to be. It is in that time of awareness that we can truly thank God for the gift of our loved one, Joe.
Dn Rod Palmer