Saturday, August 2, 2014

Dashing hope against the rocks of despair

My daughter, who recently graduated from college, and I were talking over dinner the other night about her plans for the future.  And I finally had to come clean with her that even though she's been a good kid and has worked and studied hard it's no guarantee of success in life; people don't get hired or promoted because of their qualifications but more because someone in a position of authority likes them.

As parents, most of us don't want to tell our children the sad truth about life: how unfair it really is!  (When I was a kid, my parents withheld this vital piece of information from me too.)  I guess the reason most of us do this is because we don't want to dash our children's hopes and dreams against the rocks of despair.

Despite playing by the rules, serving my country, getting an education, working hard, and trying to be a good person, I still lament over the opportunities and promotions I never got.  So what did I do wrong?  I probably rubbed the person hiring or promoting the wrong way.  In other words, they simply didn't like me.

The Great Prophet St. John the Baptizer once said, "A man can have nothing unless it's given to him from God!" (John 3:27)  And when questioning Jesus, Pontius Pilate said to Him, "Don't you know that I have it in my power to release you or to crucify you?"  Jesus replied, "You wouldn't have any power over me unless it had been given to you from God." (John 19:10,11)

Don't think that Bill Gates or Warren Buffet became fabulously wealthy on their own; God gave them their wealth.  All the powerful corporate CEOs and managers in the world, all the people who hold public office from the President or Prime Minister on down, all the rich and powerful people, and all the beautiful and talented people in the world received what they have from God.  So don't feel bad about yourself just because you never got that job or promotion you wanted.  Or don't feel cheated because you're not wealthy, beautiful, or talented.  If it was God's will for you to have those things, then you would have them.

So while it is true that life is not fair, it's also true that God is in control of things and nothing happens apart from His will.  So don't measure your success in life by the world's standards.  Becoming rich and powerful does not make you any better than anyone else in God's eyes.  Concentrate instead on discovering God's will for your life and becoming the person He wants you to be.

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