Breaking the Promises We Make to Ourselves
For Americans awakening to just how "broken" our culture has become, this is a timely and terrifying theme. We look at our children, consider the economic, political, and technological upheaval of the last few years and feel profoundly insecure about what it is we are handing them. What will their "promised place" look like? Will it be a peaceful place or a dark one, a place of promise or of prostration? Will it even be recognizable to us, or will factors beyond our control test their beliefs and their resolve far more stringently than ours ever were? If so, have we prepared them for it?
It takes the better part of a believer's life to learn and accept that God knows (and we don't need to know) what He has in store for us. Despite our conceits to the contrary, He has promised us nothing in this life—nothing, that is, but suffering, ridicule, tribulation, and death. What He has promised us is a final glorious reward for faithful devotion to Him, and for our boundless confidence in His Divine Providence.
Sometimes we see the dashing of our hopes and expectations as a sign of God's dissatisfaction. In so many cases, however, our perceived "failures" are simply our own unwillingness to relinquish our narrow, inflexible plans for God's greater one. Rather than seeing the conflict between our desires and His Divine Will as the betrayal of a promise, let us embrace it as a clear sign that He knows the work that remains to be done in us. And let us rejoice that our acceptance of this uncertainty is the necessary next step in achieving that place which He has promised us.
(The Place Promised in Our Early Days is available for instant viewing from Netflix.)
Joseph Susanka has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since his graduation from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. He blogs at Crisis Magazine, where he also contributes feature articles on a variety of topics.