God is in the Cave
These sufferings reminded me that God did not come to us under pretty circumstances — warm, cozy, sleeping all night long with adoring mom and dad dozing peacefully beside. Our Lord came under harsher circumstances: at the tail end of a long and troubling journey for Mary and Joseph, on a cold night, in a cave. “There was no room for them in the inn.” I can’t imagine taking my nine-months-pregnant wife on a nearly 100-mile journey on donkey back. To imagine no access to modern medical services, no warm hospital bed, no night nurse to take our little bundle to the nursery for a few hours so mom can sleep after recovering from major surgery … it puts current affairs into perspective.
The Pedagogy of Suffering
When our boy got croup, I almost cried. I knew he would be okay, but I felt helpless. Why now? I wondered. This is the worst possible time. We were sleep deprived, adjusting to life with a new baby, and worried that the illness would spread to our newborn son. All I can do is pray. That was my first instinct. But my prayers were less than gracious. Seeds of bitterness were sprouting. I felt as if I had trusted God and he let me down. After a particularly troubling morning, my spirit gave out. I was bitter, sad, at my wit’s end. I did not understand why God was refusing to make the whole thing easy for us. Easy for me.
An Advent Charged with Meaning
Advent has profound meaning with or without our personal woes. But often it is the journey of life, our own particular trials and struggles, that bring the liturgical year to life. It is hard to pause in the midst of challenges and to see God moving and working in them. Even if we see Him there, it may be harder still to move forward in that awareness when things remain “hard.” But Advent gives us hope, and there is real joy in that. Our suffering can be a gift that allows us to enter into the Advent story personally and experience hardship with the baby Jesus and His own immediate family.
This article originally appeared 12-14-18 at the Catholic Stand.
Charlie is a mid-thirties guy who resides in sunny Florida with his small (but growing!) family. Charlie holds a B.A. in Religion and Apologetics and works in the financial services industry by day, writing about the Catholic Faith and Taming the Wild places in the human heart in his spare time. His writing has been featured in places like the Catholic Stand, SpiritualDirection.com, Catholic Exchange and in print at Shalom Tidings. Charlie serves as the Managing Editor for Taming the Wilds and can be reached at email@example.com.