How clearly do we understand God's vision?
When his so-called friends challenge the good man Job for trusting in God even when Job’s life has fallen apart around him, Job does not hesitate to proffer a vision of life as he currently sees it: Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery? Having endured months of misery and troubled nights, Job is without hope. Job’s understanding of life, like our own, is limited by the very human parameters he places upon it. With a growing sense that he has no control, Job is in despair: I shall not see happiness again. But as Job will come to learn, there is no moment when God is not by his side; once Job knows that, knows it in the very core of his being, he comes to appreciate life differently, seeing as God’s sees rather than as man does. Only when Job gives all power over to God can he embrace the message of Psalm 147, and praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.
In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus heals not only Simon’s mother-in-law but all who were ill or possessed by demons, and in so doing, he removes all that stands in the way of their vision of God’s love for them. Standing at their side, Jesus’ presence is a source of strength, a gift.
Like Job, we can be sidetracked by the challenges life brings us, yet, like those in need of healing in the Gospel, we must trust, we must let faith help us define our world, rather than our own limited human reason or experience. Even Paul, writing to the Corinthians, acknowledges his own limited vision – he is ever challenged to understand what he is to do that will bring lasting meaning to his life. Paul’s answer lies in preaching the gospel, sharing the good news of salvation of all.
As he did to the suffering souls of his time, Jesus speaks words of love that help us to overcome all obstacles, that we might believe fully in the salvation that he offers – for this purpose did he come. Our vision needs to be informed by faith, by the knowledge that God is with us, standing at our side, no matter the trial, no matter the challenge.
This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture class.
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