It looks like we are going on a ramble again – yet another opportunity to trust that God will lead, and a hope that I'll be happier with today's efforts than yesterday's efforts.
I've been meaning to do a list of signs of hope that there are the better days ahead that we have been promised. So here it is, shrouded a bit to protect the protagonists.
A long-awaited publishing contract for someone I've been following online.
A little more traction on social media for someone close to me, including access to a previously closed Facebook group and some regular likes from an industry body.
The possibility of a romance that might lead somewhere for a daughter of a friend who has been praying for a long time.
News of a close-to-miracle pregnancy in an extended family that has been through many tough times recently.
Examples of God's providence with car purchase and tree damage.
News of a creative risking it all to go back to study and follow a prompting from earlier studies that ignited a passion.
They aren't the dazzling conversion stories we'd love to hear, but they are messages of hope that more of these new beginnings are on the way from the loving hand of God.
Other things are more like pinpricks of light that haven't had the dots joined up yet. For example, making acquaintance with associates from lower high school who live nearby, and getting unexpectedly thrown back into teaching a sacramental programme lesson, and so far being able to keep the writing challenge commitment and gaining a few insights along the way.
At the same time there's plenty that's not right, and which sucks me under if I dwell on the cold light of day impossibilities of solving them. When you have done all you can do with the available resources at hand, following what seemed like the right things to do, and they've come to absolute nothing, then it is time to wait and watch for God to act – because everything else apart from that is just further wasted effort. Those absolute nothings only happened because God permitted them. Get enough of them in a row, and that's a cease and desist message.
For this I'll quote God's friend, St Claude de la Colombiere, 'When I see a Christian grief stricken at the trials God sends him I say to myself: Here is a man who is grieved at his own happiness. He is asked God to be delivered from something he ought to be thanking him for. I am quite sure that nothing more advantageous could happen to him than what causes him so much grief. I have a hundred unanswerable reasons for saying so. But if I could read into the future and see the happy outcome of his present misfortune, how greatly strengthened I would be in my judgment! If we could discover the designs of Providence it is certain we would ardently long for the evils that we are now so unwilling to suffer. We would rush forward to accept them with the utmost gratitude if we had a little faith and realised how much God loves us and has our interests at heart.'
Does it make it any easier to face yet another day of seemingly unanswered prayer? Not really, but it takes a bit of the sting out of it.
At the moment what I draw hope from is that if God is showing His hand in some of the 'don't sweat the small temporal stuff', then maybe, just maybe, the resolution of the truly important kingdom of God stuff is in the pipeline, and these are encouragements on the hard road of patience and waiting.
I've just finished reading a difficult book, 'Daughters of Shame' by Jasvinder Sanghera. Not that it was difficult to read, but the subject matter of what happens in cultures where forced marriages and honour killings are the norm is very confronting.
On another level the book chronicles how a volunteer organisation began to help victims of this culture find freedom and how step by gradual step it grew often as a result of pondering a specific situation and seeking solutions or by the right conversation with the right person at the right time.
It is these latter meetings that are often the game changer or the life changer, and reading through a conversion story or a story of someone who achieved at remarkable levels these kinds of 'orchestrated by God' meetings will be found. In many ways myself and my loved ones are waiting for these kinds of meetings to happen in our lives because they are signposts from God that we are on the right path (or will be)
St Raphael the archangel is the patron of such happy meetings. Back almost 26 years ago when things were very dark, it was the novena of prayer to St Raphael that was the last thing needed before breakthrough came.
I'll add a PDF below for anyone who would like to know a bit more about St Raphael and seek his powerful aid and intercession: (2 x A4 pages)