This is a guest post from Marina Abdel Malak - a FrAnthony.com favorite when it comes to guest posts. In her previous posts, Marina spoke about her battle with ANOREXIA NERVOSA and how God got her through it. Thanks to God, Marina has overcome her illness and therefore has become an inspiration to many people (including me!). And Marina is now more than just an online blogger...she is now a PUBLISHED AUTHOR! Way to go Marina! And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
Have you ever been so down and frustrated that you knew you were angry, but you weren’t quite sure who you were angry at? Just sort of angry at ‘life’ in general? I know I’ve felt that way before – especially during the time I was admitted to the ICU.
I felt hopeless and tired. I remember how weak I was; how pathetic I felt. I felt frustrated with life and wanted it to end. I didn't know if God was ever going to get me out alive, and at times, I actually didn't want to be alive. I was angry with myself. But more so, I was angry that life had been so harsh on me. I didn't understand why this was happening. All I knew was that this was the 'last straw'. I was breaking down, losing hope, and losing faith.
During that time, my parents would often comfort me and support me with three quotes from the late Pope Shenouda III (1923-2012). I’ll never forget those three statements that my family always said when they came to see me: “'this too will end soon”, “God is here”, and “all is for the good”.
Three short statements, but the power and hope they instilled within me was incredible.
THIS TOO WILL END SOON
Such an encouraging phrase. Don't worry. Don't give up. Don't lose faith or hope. It’s a reminder that each struggle or trial or obstacle WILL PASS. We get so caught up in our troubles that we forget that it will end one day. Yes we’ll see suffering in this world but our suffering will NOT be forever; it will one day come to an end one day.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
GOD IS HERE
Since we were little kids, we have been taught that God is everywhere and always with us. But for some reason, as we age and encounter difficulties, we seem to forget that it still applies!
In every pain, struggle, challenge, and obstacle, God is with us. He never leaves us alone and is always aware of our situation. And yet, we forget to talk to Him and ask Him to guide us. We try to take control of our own lives without considering that praying to God may be just what we need to do to get through the struggle.
If we remember that God is always with us in every moment, maybe we wouldn't feel so hopeless or distraught. We would be comforted that though this life is hard, we are not alone. God is with us and that will never change.
“And lo I am with you always, even to the end of age.” (Matthew 28:20)
ALL IS FOR THE GOOD
What does this mean? Perhaps it encompasses our willingness to accept that God is in control of our lives. It means realizing that we may not always get what we want in life - but this only means that God has a different and better plan for us.
We are human and can only see things within the present; but God can see all things. He knows what is best for us and He has a plan for each of us. So, when things don't go our way, we msut remember that this is all for the good. Not because we are trying to be happy to fill our disappointment; but rather, because we are confident that God has a purpose for everything.
We may not understand it now and maybe not for a long time! But one day, we will. And when we understand how things worked out, we will see how God truly planned things for our success.
“For I know the plans I have for you...plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
In times of worry, distress, or trouble, I always think of these three phrases from Pope Shenouda and I am immediately comforted. It feels as though God is speaking directly to me through these phrases.
It's as though God is telling me to “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus' (Philippians 4:6-7).
And from my experience – especially in the ICU – God never fails. He always comes through in the end. Our job is to stay hopeful and faithful and remember these things:
This too will end. God is always here. And everything happens for the good.
For discussion: which of the three phrases speaks the most to you? And why?