Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Homily for 13 July 2016

13 July 2016

We’ll often hear that: “God will not give us more than we can handle” (cf 1 Cor 10:13).  But, you know, sometimes the challenges God gives us are pretty hard to take.  For instance, in ancient Israel, their neighbor, Assyria, often attacked them.  And that was hard enough.  But it would’ve been even harder for the Israelites had they known that their own God was using Assyria against them—to punish them, to teach, to strengthen them.

“God will not give us more than we can handle.”  But can we handle the idea that God uses even our enemies, even our weaknesses to teach us and mold us?  It kind of gets at the question of evil; the question being: If there is an all-powerful God, how can evil exist?  And the answer is both straightforward and complex. 

The answer is that God is so good that it doesn’t even enter his mind to destroy anything—not even evil.  God doesn’t have a destructive “bone in his body.”  And so, God uses evil so that good can come from it.  When we feel a situation in life is too much to handle, or we’re angered by what we see and hear in the news, maybe we’re being put to the test.  Maybe in those times, God is challenging us to really believe that evil doesn’t win out. 

When Jesus was nailed to the Cross, I supposed he could’ve given up.  Evil was all around him; he had no friends (except his mother and John, who appeared to be pretty helpless themselves).  It was a pretty dark scene.  And Jesus suffered.  But his love for the Father was stronger than any tauntings of evil.  In the end, he won the day, not darkness.

When we feel the weight of life’s challenges, or the darkness of evil and despair, it could be that God is allowing us to feel that—for our own good.  And the good he’s trying to draw out of us is faith; not the concept of faith, or a nice image of faith—but living faith, in him. 

God will not give us more than we can handle.  And whatever he gives us, we handle it . . . with faith.   

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