Columns

Leaning into Jesus

Originally Appeared in : 9916-8/1/19

I’m writing this column in the middle of a trial. I don’t like writing through things like this, I prefer to be on the other side before I try and articulate feelings and emotions. But here I am, on deadline, and in the middle of something difficult and scary.

 

Before I go further, I want to say that I already know how this story ends. In the words of God to St. Julian of Norwich: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” That’s the reality of life. 

 

It’s going to be okay.

 

But that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be easy or fun or completely lacking of fear or anxiety. God tells us not to be anxious about anything (thank you, Philippians 4:6, I love you!), but there sure is that human tendency to do just that. The challenge of our humanness is to cling to the truths which God presents us: God is bigger than any issue we are facing, and he is with us in the midst of this storm.

 

Just because I know that, however, doesn’t mean I don’t have to work through believing it. My human tendency is to be afraid. My human tendency is to focus on all the ways things are difficult or scary or not as I would like them to be. My job, the biggest thing I have to do amid these trials, is to let God be in control and remind myself of this truth.

 

Yesterday morning I woke up to see a fire engine in front of my mom and dad’s house. They live next door, and I threw on some clothes and went over. An ambulance was on the way, and my mom was slumped in a chair in great pain. Today she is still in the hospital, and while they have ruled out many things (heart attack, for example), doctors are still trying to determine what is going on.

 

I love my mama so much, and it’s hard to watch her suffer. I love my dad so much, and it’s hard to watch him suffer. Life is hard. Health stuff can be scary. My mom’s health over the last few years has been a struggle and a great opportunity for our family to learn to trust Jesus even when things don’t just get “fixed” so we can move on.

 

The funny crossroads I’m at right now, as I deal with aging parents and college students and a whole host of other issues, is to work hard to just find my peace in the Lord. I can’t wait for things to be perfect to be at peace. I can’t find my peace in the middle of feeling “in control” of the circumstances of my life. I started to learn that lesson when our oldest son went off to college a few years ago, and I realized that the “scary, off in the future” part of my life was now ­— no more knowing exactly what was going on at all times with all of my children. It was the beginning of learning a new kind of trust.

 

And here I am in a similar season. It’s another opportunity to lean into Jesus instead of trying to run away. It’s learning that everything Jesus says will come to be, but that none of those promises are guarantees of a lack of suffering in this earthly life. What we look to, where our hope resides is heaven. That’s where true peace and joy and real, unending happiness will be ours.
In the meantime, there is peace and joy here on earth, but it will be in the midst of the suffering of our human nature. We don’t have to let our suffering or fear control us, but it is here. It is a part of this fallen world we are in. 

 

Our hope is in the Lord who made heaven and earth. He is with us here, now, in the good times and bad. He walks beside us. And what he has in store for us is greater than any human heart can fully understand.

 

Rachel Balducci is a wife and mother of six. She and her husband Paul are members of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Augusta, GA. 

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