Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Gap ... between what we are ... and what we could be.

I believe that God has put into all of us a deep desire to improve ourselves and our circumstances in life. Whether or not we earnestly try to improve ourselves and our circumstances is completely up to us. (After all, we have free-will.) And it is hope that keeps us going when we see the gap between what we are and what we could be, or the gap between our present circumstances and our desired circumstances.

We can't live very long without hope. When we lose hope we give into despair or despondency and we stop trying to improve ourselves or our circumstances in life. When this happens we start to indulge in self-centered or self-destructive behaviors and we give into our base instincts.

We may become despondent, but God never stops trying to help us bridge the gap between what we are and what we could be and give us hope. In 1848, John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801 - 1890) wrote this beautiful poem that many have found very comforting during difficult times.

Some Definite Service
by John Henry Cardinal Newman

God knows me and calls me by my name...
God has created me to do Him some definite service;
He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another.
I have my mission...
I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.
Somehow I am necessary for His purposes ... I have a part in this great work;
I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work;
I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, 
if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling.

Therefore, I will trust Him whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away.
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him;
In perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him;
If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.
My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, 
which is quite beyond us.
He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; He knows what He is about.
He may take away my friends, He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me...still He knows what He is about....

Let me be Thy blind instrument. 
I ask not to see... I ask not to know... I ask simply to be used.

(From Meditations and Devotions, "Meditations on Christian Doctrine," "Hope in God--Creator", March 7, 1848.)

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