I love reading the lives of the saints. I really appreciate examples of the daily, practical application of eternal truths to particular lives and I always need a "visual", so to speak. HOW did they acquire humility, WHAT does true charity look like, WHO helped them, HOW MUCH does God ask of them? It is very instructive to read how the saint began in life, where they lived, who they met, what kinds of things happened that seemed like such disappointing failures but turned out to be road signs to the Eternal Treasure. I would be lost without my books on Saints.
However, there are times when only the Old Testament will do!
Whenever I feel like a whining pile of indecision, or an impatient "I want clarity now!" kind of person, or a "what was I thinking?!?" rash, impulsive person, I find myself flipping through the pages of Genesis and Exodus. Oh, the plethora of cautionary tales available in just those two books for people just like me!! And the most comforting thing is: God loved them desperately! They were horrible, and whiny, and dense, and obstinate but He didn't leave and He even made them Patriarch's wives!
This week I was struck by the whole tale of Sarah, Abraham's wife.
Abraham had just been promised a Son by God, an heir even in his old age. Abraham in his peaceful, phlegmatic way accepted this promise and was ready and willing to wait upon the timing of God. Sarah on the other hand, once she heard the news, was ready to get the show on the road. Okay! promise of a Son. Let's make this happen NOW. She took God's promise and His Will and tried to control it to her own will. She herself was barren, so that wasn't going to work! So, BRIGHT IDEA, she used Hagar to get her own plan accomplished and, low and behold, Hagar had a son with Abraham. Mission accomplished! Or so she thought..... she wasn't counting on the resentment of Hagar and her boasting, she wasn't counting on her own envy kicking in that this baby was not her own, she wasn't counting on the fact that her envy would coldly banish a woman and her child into the desert. She just wasn't counting on God, plain and simple. And a MESS ensued. A mess that God had to clean up for everyone.
Aren't we just like this????? We look for our "charism", we look for our vocation, we look for something grand and glorious to do for God with our gifts, to further His Kingdom. He calls us to a personal holiness crafted especially by Him for us, but our view of our own holiness looks very different than his. We want to start schools, youth groups, prayer groups, missions. These are all good things, but they might not be OUR things. We are impatient to get going on serving the Lord!
But sometimes all He is asking us to do is wait on His plan. To be quiet, to serve our children, to make dinner, to read, to teach them quietly, to be lonely sometimes, to simply wait and PRAY faithfully that we will recognize HIS plan when He reveals it. And ah..... the all important thing..... to ACCEPT it when it is revealed. Not to be disappointed that it isn't what we were expecting! This is the only way to be happy and to avoid the tremendous MESS of self directed, self sufficient holiness.
Thank you, Blessed Sarah! This lesson is so valuable to me. And may God's plan for my life be to me that great "laughter" that the gift of Isaac was to you, when GOD'S plan for you was at last revealed to you in Isaac's upturned baby face.