I started thinking about the prophet Jeremiah. He’s not a saint in the way we traditionally think, but I think we can be sure he is up in Heaven . . . .and so a saint.
Why? Because of his enduring faithfulness. The thing that struck me about Jeremiah is that he stayed the course faithfully even though he didn’t get to see the things he prophesied come about, even though no one listened to him, even though his heart was broken by the scattering and capture of the Jewish people. He didn’t die seeing God’s glory. He died sad and heartbroken, probably murdered by his own countrymen.
In other words, his life did not turn out the way he hoped at all. And in fact, he never got to see things turn out the way they should, or even things turn out well. But he was faithful until the end. He still believed in what God told Him and He still served God. He must have understood that this life is temporary and that there is glory and hope and fulfillment in the next life–that even if He couldn’t see it now, what God promised will come true. That is amazing faith. This is the life we can see, touch, and feel. And to never see the beauty, the fulfillment, the promise and still believe and still preach . . .it’s amazing. It’s beautiful. It’s faith.
Hopefully those of us who experience this severe suffering won’t suffer forever. One way or another our circumstances will probably change. Some of it may just be our acceptance and healing that changes the situation or sometimes something concrete will happen. God does answer prayers here on Earth too. But what if He doesn’t? If things never get better do we have enough faith to keep on in faith and to keep doing God’s will and to keep trusting Him? Do we have enough faith to not grow weary because we believe the best is yet to come–after this life is done?
I think of Mother Teresa also. I think it’s been pretty well published at this point that for the vast majority of her life and ministry, she was in complete spiritual darkness. And yet she kept serving so faithfully and so beautifully. Pure faith.
Consolation is those little feelings, moments etc. that God sends us to give us relief from our suffering or darkness, it’s the feeling of God in our soul.
Desolation is when we receive none of that.
Consolations are for the weak in faith. Only those truly spiritually mature can receive desolation from God and keep serving.
I have often prayed for consolations. I guess I am just not ready to walk that path of spiritual darkness. I just don’t have my eyes on Heaven enough.
I’m no Jeremiah. And God knows it too.
So here is this suffering–here is my faith. Here is my spiritual growth . . .