“Build on the Foundation of God’s Love” by Beth DeCristofaro
Abram told Sarai: "Your maid is in your power. Do to her whatever you please." Sarai then abused her so much that Hagar ran away from her. … But the LORD's messenger told her: "Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment. I will make your descendants so numerous," added the LORD's messenger, "that they will be too many to count. Besides," the LORD's messenger said to her: "You are now pregnant and shall bear a son; you shall name him Ishmael, For the LORD has heard you, God has answered you. (Genesis 16:6, 9-11)
Jesus said to his disciples: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. … "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. … And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined." (Matthew 7:21, 24. 26-27)
Grant, O Lord, that we may always revere and love your holy name, for you never deprive of your guidance those you set firm on the foundation of you love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. (Collect from the Mass of the Day)
The cliché “into each life some rain must fall” is a pretty tame description of what many people face. Sarai faced the humiliation and indeed the devaluation of her identity due to childlessness. And Hagar was abused for it – forced into a sexual relationship and then mistreated. Both faced storms what could have crushed them. Their reactions were so different. One took her anger out on the other. Sarai ran away but then trusted – against her lived experience – that the word of God was good and she became “grandmother” to numerous descendants. God retained the right to disperse judgment and mercy to both women.
We also are asked to live in a way that takes responsibility for our lives in stormy or benign weather. It is with certainty that we know storms will come. Do we know for certain that God will be with us in the desert or the flood? Preparing by each and every day making room for God in our lives – not just mouthing “Lord, Lord” for our own schemes - prepares us to lean on God when needed and stand strong for others when called upon. Even if asked to stay in the storm, or a situation which seems hopeless, we can rely on God to be with us.
Is there a place in my life in which I am not shouldering the responsibility which the Lord asks of me? Are there times I am mouthing “Lord, Lord” yet not accepting His will any deeper than my lips? Spend time in prayer with Him.