I Wish God Didn’t Trust Me So Much

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mother teresa

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.” ~Blessed Mother Teresa

One of the most attractive things about Mother Teresa was her honesty. We don’t have to pretend to others that being a Christian means life is all smileys and cookie cakes. It wasn’t for her. It won’t be for us. In fact, it’s precisely the point that the Christian Life is often not those things that actually makes it so ultimately attractive to people. It’s real. It’s when you pretend it’s something that it’s not that it ceases to be believable – because it becomes fake.

Of course, there is immense comfort in knowing that God will not ask us to do anything we can’t handle. But there is often an enormous amount of discomfort in the “handling it” part. That’s life. But if we live that life with faith, hope and charity, we will receive the grace to be peacefully joyful despite the discomfort.

The human person longs for that kind of joy. A joy that lives not in the false promises of prosperity, but in the familiar truths of the human experience.

Show people your human experience. Show them your faults. And then show them that joy.

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Marc Cardaronella August 12, 2010 at 10:46 am

When I first started teaching people about Catholicism and trying to bring them into the Catholic Faith, I wanted to make it attractive. I dealt with people that had no Christian background whatsoever. I wanted to tell them all their problems would be better because many of my problems were solved. While it’s true that many people do have some problems solved, sometimes things get worse.

I think the Christian difference is peace. Christianity, and I believe Catholicism in particular, gives life meaning and purpose. What I have found as I lived more of the Christian life is that, while it doesn’t mean the pain and problems go away (sometimes they get worse), it does mean that they are definitely easier to handle. That might sound strange but it’s true. I think ultimately the greatest benefit of being Catholic Christian, in this life anyway, is that life always has meaning in God…even when it seems life is not turning out the way you would want it to. And that brings joy!

A.I.Sanchez August 12, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Wow. That’s exactly as I see my faith now. Through our faith we can find meaning and sometimes joy in our sufferings. Thus giving us peace. Suffering is one theme of life, taught throughout the New Testament. Jn. 16:33 I have said this to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Trisha October 13, 2010 at 9:23 am

Very well said to both of you and I completely agree. Our faith brings us the peace and trust in the Lord during our trials. Our trials bring us closer to our Lord.

Elaine March 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Orthodox Christians believe the very same> I am a Greek Orthodox Christian and we are taught to pray to God to help us along a difficult path. And to thank our Lord, as well. :)

GMQ August 22, 2010 at 8:51 am

I returned to the Catholic Church in 2006 after practicing my faith as a protestant for way too many years. In 2007, I was diagnosed with late stage cancer. I felt God had brought me home in the nick of time. Not that there is no comfort in belief in Christ outside the Church, but there is so MUCH more inside it. I realized for myself that suffering is very beneficial to the soul, and I believe that Catholicim shows us the way to embrace our suffering in a way I had not learned as a protestant. In fact, in my experience, the prosperity gospel preached in protestant circles seemed to devalue the grace of suffering. I have come to believe that our Father allows and even sends those things into our lives that will make us more like Jesus.

Marc Cardaronella August 23, 2010 at 4:45 pm

GMQ: That is very profound, especially coming from someone who has suffered. It gets me thinking that, in the end, it’s not necessarily about what God can give you to make you feel good but about how can he strengthen you for the hard times. I mean, we’re all going to have health problems or things not go the way we want them to at some point in life. It’s how you get through those times that defines you as a person. And, a system of belief that can carry you through the dark times and strengthen you to prevail is the only one worth giving yourself to. Kind of makes me think that the prosperity gospel approach really isn’t so attractive after all.

Teresa of Avila said that God gives us favors and consolations in prayer, not merely so that we can have pleasure, but in order to strengthen us to live a life like his and to suffer as he did. Sounds like you’ve come to that understanding first hand through your own experiences.

Marc Cardaronella August 23, 2010 at 4:46 pm

That is very profound GMQ, especially coming from someone who has suffered. It gets me thinking that, in the end, it’s not necessarily about what God can give you to make you feel good but about how can he strengthen you for the hard times. I mean, we’re all going to have health problems or things not go the way we want them to at some point in life. It’s how you get through those times that defines you as a person. And, a system of belief that can carry you through the dark times and strengthen you to prevail is the only one worth giving yourself to. Kind of makes me think that the prosperity gospel approach really isn’t so attractive after all.

Teresa of Avila said that God gives us favors and consolations in prayer, not merely so that we can have pleasure, but in order to strengthen us to live a life like his and to suffer as he did. Sounds like you’ve come to that understanding first hand through your own experiences.

GMQ August 24, 2010 at 7:10 am

Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Marc. One of the certainties in this life is that we will suffer. But as Christians, we have the benefit of God’s love–and with that, no suffering is wasted. United to Christ, we have joy even in the midst of trial; and hope, always. “… I have hope; the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. ‘The lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’” — Lamentations 3:21-24
Blessings, Gia

Bernadette August 25, 2010 at 6:29 pm

I needed that post today. Thank you!

Christian August 27, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Mother Teresa critically influenced my faith in action more than 20 years ago:

http://platytera.blogspot.com/2008/10/scabby-people-that-grimfaced-nun_19.html

enness July 11, 2011 at 10:39 pm

One of the saints, I unfortunately cannot remember which at the moment, said that the only pleasure not available in Heaven was that of suffering for God.

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