Scripture readings for today

But my trust is in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”
In your hands is my destiny; rescue me
from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.

  1. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.

You know, there’s something to be said for having a bad Lent. I know it isn’t fun to feel like a failure, and it can be frustrating when life feels “hard”. But the truth is, when we feel small, that’s our reminder that in God is our strength.

My preference of course is to have a plan, tackle the plan and then triumph. That’s a great feeling. But I keep thinking this Lent, as I’m two weeks in and feeling the struggle, that a pain-free Lent is a gain-free Lent.

My trust is in the Lord. I keep telling myself that. When I fall flat on
my face. When I don’t rise to the challenge. Rock Climbing on Turnagain ArmWhen I try and fail. When it all feels like too much and I’m reminded, once again, that I’m probably never going to become a canonized saint. It’s okay. My strength isn’t in my own abilities, it comes from God.

It’s important to remember, as we trudge through the desert, that God is in control. We give our small suffering back to him and we ask him to use the circumstances of our life — both good and bad — to bring him glory and to make us closer to who he wants us to be.

I thought of that recently when a situation arose and I knew it was how God wanted me to grow. It hurt so much, a little penance, a chance to die to myself and put someone else in front of me. I do fine in those moments when it’s what I want, but when it isn’t convenient or not my first choice, oh how I struggle!

And as I sat and prayed and sort of lamented my initial response, I saw that God was giving me this small mortification to burn out more of me and bring in more of Him. It hurts to grow, but God is there with us every step of the way.

And like the marathon runner who crosses the finish line exhausted and elated, our suffering will be worth it when we enter into the blessed Easter season. Until then, we must keep fighting the good fight and seeking God’s wisdom and grace every step of the way.

Rachel Balducci is a columnist for The Southern Cross newspaper of the Diocese of Savannah and a co-host of The Gist on CatholicTV. She and her husband, Paul, have five sons and one daughter and are members of Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Augusta, Georgia.