View Today’s Readings: Wednesday, Week Nine
Tobit 3:1-11, 16-17; Psalm 25; Mark 12:18-27
To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Most ministry is layperson to layperson. Very frequently it consists in responding to people who suffer—
responding to their physical needs, of course, but also to their spiritual temptations. Suffering tempts us to discouragement, and to loss of faith, even to anger at God. This is normal.
Today’s readings help us minister to those in pain.
Tobit spoke for Sara as well as for himself when he said, “It is better for me to die than to endure so much misery in life!” Both asked God to let them die. But Sarah added what was essential: Blessed are you, O Lord, merciful God, and blessed are you in all your works forever!” Whether we see it or not, we have to believe that what God does or permits is wise and merciful and good.
And we should never assume that because God allows something to happen he wants it to happen. God made humans free, and humans have used their freedom to make this world something different from what God planned. As he said to some saint, “My will is not always done.”
We don’t have to understand why God permits things that he doesn’t really want to happen. We just have to understand that we don’t understand. And that God does. The first and last line is: “God is God; he is all wise and all good.”
That is how Jesus answered the Sadducees who argued against the resurrection. His basic answer was “What do you know?”
Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When they rise from the dead… they are like the angels in heaven.
The laws of physics do not apply in heaven. It’s a whole different deal up there. Nor is it “up there”; heaven is not a place like Cincinnati or Hawaii. And even here on earth, the reality is not always what it seems. God sees the whole picture; we don’t. A little humility will keep us from judging God.
But God knows how hard it is, especially when we are suffering. He understands how we feel. He doesn’t blame us for it. He sympathizes. So even while we pray with humility, “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths,” the Psalm has us remember that God’s “compassion and kindness are from of old.” He is always “God our Savior.”
Meditation: Read Job, chapter 38, and answer God’s questions: “Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm and said: ‘Where were you when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding…’”