Random thoughts on enduring hardhips

In Today’s 1st Reading (Acts 14: 19-28), Paul is stoned almost to death in Lystra, flees (understandably), but then later returns to continue to preach the Gospel. What courage!!! I think I’d flee too, but would I be able to return? He goes on to spend time with the people there and talk about hardships (stoning counts I guess so he knows of what he speaks).

They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God."

There are a lot of hardships in our world. This morning I drove the homeless shelter van which I do every few months. I’m always amazed at the strength and courage these women have to face the unknown, to shepherd their children, to try to find jobs and housing in the face of amazing hardship. In my 30 minutes with them in the early morning I don’t often get to hear their stories. But I can "feel" them and I always come away inspired and humbled.

I’ve also got a friend/acquaintance who suffers from mental illness. He’s normally very functioning, to the point that many of his acquaintances probably don’t realize he’s ill. But right now I think something’s off with him, and he’s acting weird and sending people strange e-mails. Alienating people I’m sure and pissing them off. Such hardship, to burn bridges like that. I hope and pray that he finds his way through this rough patch, and that those around him will cut him some slack, see his brokennes and respond in love. That’s hard though in it’s own way.

Some random thoughts this morning. The Gospel reading today (John 14: 27-31) has Jesus giving us his Peace and telling us to not be afraid or let our hearts be troubled. Yes life may sometimes seem to just suck. Hardships come our way. We’re stoned by words or circumstances and yet we must find the strength to return. Not be troubled? That sounds crazy at times. But God is with us. Jesus has given us his Peace. The Holy Spirit is our companion. And all will be well. Not to say that it will be easy, but we will be ok.

Please keep the homeless women I met today and my struggling friend in your prayers – as well as those whose paths they will cross today. That all will be filled with the spirit of understanding and feel Christ’s Peace in their hearts.

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