He Leadeth Me by Walter Ciszek, which I read last year per Jen’s recommendation, was one of those books I marked all over with a pencil and highlighter because so much of it spoke to me. Last night I was perusing old quotes filed away in a “faith/religious” notebook in search of words that might offer solace as I prayed over a friend, whom I do not know all that well, but she has inspired me with such an unwavering trust in the providence of God, when this quote from the book jumped off the page:
“The greatest grace God can give such a man is to send him a trial he cannot bear with his own powers – and then to sustain him with his grace so that he may endure to the end and be saved.”
This friend, I thought as I re-read these words again and again, has been given a great grace and while many would be crushed under the weight of her cross, she is shouldering it with supernatural strength.
The last time I saw her – only about three weeks ago – she’d just had her 20 week ultrasound and discovered she was having a boy and a girl. I remember her beautiful, irrepressible smile. I remember this, too: She was wearing a fashionable shift that was gently hugging the silhouette of her burgeoning belly, and her hands would continuously rest on her tummy, a protective touch upon the sacred sanctuary that was home to not one but two tiny, precious souls – souls, I understand, she waited a long, long time for and referred to as her miracle babies.
Today those miracle babies are in the NICU after she discovered last week that her body was going into labor. (She delivered late last night.) There have been prayer chains for her all over the place – the Body of Christ at work. These prayers, I hope, are lightening what seems to me like an almost unbearable cross. Then again, I’m someone who, like a petulant child, wanted to shout out, “This isn’t fair” when I heard that after only one week of bed rest, her body could no longer wait and the babies were coming.
When she knew labor was imminent, a close friend of hers asked for our prayers and said that this beautiful mother was already learning the most difficult lesson: To entrust your children, pieces of you that you desperately want to cling to and hold onto and to protect no matter the cost, completely to God.
We have so little control. It’s terrifying, really. Like Jesus, we are so often thrown into positions of powerlessness that we never would have chosen. Yet, like Him we are asked to remain faithful.
And this is what my friend is doing right now. She is in a Passion; yet, she is living through it with such a powerful faith and grace that she is, no doubt, bringing others to the foot of the cross and helping them to see that there lies something more than hurt and hopelessness in suffering.
May this precious family be sustained with His grace and find peace in His will no matter what happens to these tiny, perfect, and fragile miracles.
“Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” Romans 12:12