Happy Easter!

Our lives are regularly affected, in some degree, by stress and anxiety. There are disappointments, failures, farewells, deaths, lost opportunities, accidents, disrupted personal relationships, and  so on.  How many times have we felt unwanted, deliberately ignored, or rejected?  These things wound us at the core of our being.  If God is loving and merciful, why do we have to experience all these?

God knows our anguish and loneliness. It is in suffering that we develop our values.  It is in our trials that we acquire the wisdom to know, to love and to honor Him. 

God's teachings tell us that from all eternity, we were chosen as part of the divine plan of creation for a purpose.  We are not just one of many - as a single grain in a handful of sand.  Rather, through a deliberate act of divine love, God chose each one of us, singled us out by name, and put us into human existence.  It is because of love that God strengthens our faith, so that we may live a better life.

Between these misfortunes, there are also times of relief and peace.  It is during these times of respite that we could rebuild our energy and make adjustments in our lives.  It is during this period that we look within ourselves and analyze what God wants us to do. 

It is wise to rest and it is good to rest in God’s peace and consolidate our blessings.  Our strength and faith may be drained and tested in times of trial, but in moments of peace we can appreciate the support that God gives us throughout our lives.  No matter how low or how left out we feel, we can raise our broken hearts to God and say, “You chose me.  I am special to you.  Support me now that the help of those around me has failed.”

For years, I have tried to saturate my mind with passages from the Bible. They are the best medicine for stress, anxiety and fear that I have ever known.  In times of distress and need, we can find strength in Christ’s words. They are there for us in the Gospels, words overflowing with comfort and assurance:  “I will give you rest;” “I’m with you always;” “Let not your hearts be troubled;” “Your sins are forgiven.”  

Each of these words is Christ holding out a hand to us, inviting us to trust.  And they are not simply words; they are promises, acts, and doings of God.  If we can put faith in our friends who assure us of their fidelity, how much more may we put our hands and our hearts with confidence into the loving hands of Christ, who gave His life as a guarantee of His promise.

However, it’s not always easy to follow Christ. No matter how persistently we cling to Jesus our faith is always tested. Voices come from so many different directions: friends, family, church leaders, television and newspapers. It isn’t always clear which one to listen. 

How are we to know? We live in a culture that places high value on our social activities. Indeed, we are very conscious of what others think. One difference between a child and an adult is the freedom to act, not according to outside influences, but according to what we believe and who we really are. What distinguishes a child from an adult is the capacity to be guided by the spirit of the Gospel, not by maturity. 

When so many voices are clamoring for attention, we can only pray that we’ll remain focus and recognize the voice of Jesus. We are justified by our faith, our private relationship with God; that what really counts!

By Tim Pedrosa

We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. ~Romans 5:3 and 4