If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Doubts are Settled


 I wrote this essay more than forty years ago.
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I have loved you with everlasting love, therefore have I drawn thee with lovingkindness. Jeremiah 31:3
 
The muted rhythmic clatter of train wheels and the gentle rocking of the coach did nothing to soothe my growing despondency. For months heaven seemed deaf to my prayers for companionship. Loneliness consumed me. Worse, I believed God had abandoned me.

"Don't you care what's happening in my life?" I accused toward heaven. Wiping away tears, I stared vacantly through the window as the train clickerty-clacked past gently sloping hills and open pasture. Cattle grazed lazily. Wisps of cotton-white clouds fingered the endless mid‑western sky.

But it may as well have been stormy gray for as much as nature's elegance impressed me.

Then all at once an image flashed across my mind's eye. Transfixed by its sudden appearance, I watched myself raise a defiant fist and shout toward heaven, "I thought you loved me!" The words seared across my lips. "Then why do you ignore me?"

As the panorama continued, I watched myself slowly turned, as if on a moving stage, until the Lord Jesus – on the cross – loomed before me. He hung in silence. His arms outstretched. Head bowed. His gentle eyes fixed on mine.

I froze, gripped by the image of the crucified Christ watching me play out my tantrum. My fist fell to my side and I saw myself fall to my knees in shame. And then, as suddenly as the scene appeared in my mind, it was gone. But its message lingered, working its way deep into my heart.

I doubted His love. I accused Him of forsaking me. And then I saw His outstretched arms. And His eyes. I pressed my forehead against the glass pane, closed my eyes and repented.

It is with a measure of shame I confess that, although forty years have passed – forty – I am at times still sorely impatient when God delays answering my prayers. Nor do I yet find it particularly easy to always accept His “No,” when I want Him to say “Yes.”

But that He loves me – deeply loves me – is no longer an issue. Calvary has forever settled that question. The cross is Christ’s quiet testimony of a love that transcends all my despair, loneliness, heartache, and temper tantrums. The cross is for me His final answer to the question, "Don't you care what's happening in my life?"

6 comments:

Melanie Jean Juneau said...

powerful, right from your deepest self

Richard Maffeo said...

Thanks, Melanie. I always try to be honest about my failures. Why not? Doing so usually helps others realize God also loves them and wants to comfort them despite their own failures. We're all on this same journey of life and faith together.

http://harvestingthefruitsofcontemplation.blogspot.com/ said...

Richard:

We have all been there but few of us could have expressed these truths as well as you. Thank you.

Richard Maffeo said...

Thanks for your kind words, too.

Colleen said...

Beautiful. And a powerful reminder of what Jesus did for us.

Richard Maffeo said...

Thank you, Colleen. Decades have passed since I first wrote it, and it remains as powerful a memory for me as it ever was.