Some days I struggle to stay positive and hopeful and joyful… why is this ? Well, maybe it’s the spicy food I ate last night and the resulting poor night’s sleep, maybe it’s the fact that my March Madness bracket is on life support, maybe it’s because I was shocked at the “old man face” in the mirror as I was brushing my teeth, maybe it’s the wars and rumors of war… I could go on.
While this all may be true, fundamentally I believe it’s because we are in a spiritual battle, with our opponents being the world, the flesh, and the devil. We’re in a fierce battle for our very souls, and we shouldn’t be caught off guard. St. Peter reminds us, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you.”(1Peter 4:12) This may seem strange, but it’s part of life on this side of the veil. So, what are we to do?
A wonderful priest friend often reminds us, “ TAKE A DEEP BREATH, RELAX, AND LET GOD LOVE YOU…. AND SAY JESUS I TRUST IN YOU.
Let’s also take St. Paul’s instruction to put on the whole armor of God as described in Ephesians 6.
“Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” (Eph. 6:13-18)
Each day we need to put on our spiritual armor as we get out of bed. JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU. “What do you have for me today?” I may not be able to solve the war in Ukraine but I can do something. I can ask Christ for the peace that passes understanding and then communicate that peace to those I meet this day… from the people at Shoprite, to my barber, to my co-workers. I can look to help family and friends who may be suffering in a variety of ways…. by sending an encouraging text, picking up their child at school, telling them your latest joke. (only if it’s funny). You get the picture.
And let’s practice our SMILE. A smile can go a long way. I’m not talking about a “goofy grin”… I’m talking about a genuine smile. A smile that says, “I have some good news”. A smile that says, “things are getting better”. A smile that causes someone to ask, “what are you smiling about”? And if the smile doesn’t work, do a little dance … show off some of your best moves, like the “3 Stooges Reverse Move”.
We should be happy… the happiest of all men and women. “ if God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?” (Romans 8:31-32)
This is good news. Hey, I’m feeling better already. Jesus, I trust in you.