Monday, April 10, 2017

You Will Follow Later

Photo by Melanie Rigney

By Melanie Rigney

It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6)

I will sing of your salvation. (Psalm 71:15ab)

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.” (John 13:36)

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
--Teresa of Avila

It is a frustrating, agonizing, humbling experience to see family and friends suffer—physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually—and to know there’s not a whole lot we can do to change the situation. We can pray. We can listen. We can provide money or a listening ear or transportation to medical appointments. We can make casseroles, deliver groceries, recommend books or send funny pictures. But none of that changes anything long term. Where they are going, we cannot follow, not right away, not at the same time. The change, the relief, the resolution that is ultimately experienced is between our loved one and the Lord and typically involves some obedience and surrender.

Consider Peter’s concern in today’s Gospel reading. Why doesn’t Jesus understand, Peter must have wondered. Jesus was Peter’s friend, mentor, spiritual adviser, inspiration. How could he possibly be going somewhere that Peter couldn’t? It’s the same way we chafe against diagnoses that run counter to what we want for those we love. Why can’t things just stay the way they are? Why do people have to die, move away or have their mobility limited due to illness and other factors? Why do they have to go?

These all are questions we’ve undoubtedly asked in hundreds or thousands of situations. For the answer, we need only look to the Cross, and to the surrender of both Jesus and His mother. The Lord’s call often is difficult, even more so when He calls those we love to go with Him on a journey where our companionship is limited. And so we wait… and pray for strength and faith for them, and acceptance and faith for ourselves. We all have what we need for the wait.

In your prayer time today, ask the Lord to help you set aside your earthly worries and to discern where He desires you to follow.

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