Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

September 28, 2011

Mandy Widegren

Sophomore, Biology Major, Pre-Dental

Neh 2:1-8
Ps 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
Lk 9:57-62

If God called you to leave everything right now, like he did in today’s Gospel, could you truly drop everything and go? I know that the right response is, “Oh yes! Of course!” but have you ever really, truly thought about it? I know that I would ask God, 'can I bring my cell phone? Can my family come with me, or at least can I go say goodbye to them? Or can we postpone this until next week, because I have a huge Organic Chemistry test that I want to ace?' Why is it so hard for us to drop everything and follow the Lord? Jesus flat out tells us about the personal costs that it would require to follow him. It requires sacrifice to follow the Lord, the sacrifice of all of our material possessions and creature comforts. Jesus knows this, but he appeals to our heart to detach from material goods and to not hold back. This is necessary to follow the Lord. We can’t be tied down to multiple things when our full attention should be on following his will. But, in today’s society, we are not necessarily called to give up everything to spiritually follow Jesus. However, we need to give up anything that may hold us back from doing God's will. We have to look forward, and not look back at everything we leave behind.

I am too stubborn for my own good, and many times I have tried to fight God’s calling. Over the summer, my grandmother died while she was on hospice and I told myself that for the rest of my life I would never go into a nursing home again because it would be too hard. God heard me say that and laughed! At the start of the year I applied for a faith-based volunteer program and was accepted. I didn’t know where we were volunteering, but I was excited and ready to go. At the first meeting they announced that we were going to volunteer at hospice. All I could think was, “Really God? Really?” I thought about backing out of the program, about trying to volunteer with a different organization, about doing anything that wasn’t hospice. God was calling me to drop everything and follow his will. It wasn’t physical belongings he asked me to drop, but emotional baggage. When put in that kind of situation it was hard to follow God’s call, but I did. I left my emotional baggage at the door and started hospice training. God has a reason for me doing this, and I just have to put my trust in him.

On a much smaller scale, having my grandmother die was similar to the pain that the Israelites felt when Jerusalem was destroyed – except their pain was mine multiplied greatly. Imagine: your whole life, your whole nation, your whole being comes crashing down. What are you left with? What defines you now, when what used to define you is gone? Imagine the immense pain that the Israelites were feeling. In the first reading the author talks about how he has never been this depressed before, and that even the king can see the sickness of his heart. Have you ever been in that much spiritual or emotional pain? Have you lost your job in the recent downturn of the economy? Have you experienced deaths in the family? Have you been affected by recent natural disasters? The Israelites “wept at the memory of Zion,” (Psalm 137) and vowed to never forget about Jerusalem and their past lives. Even through the immense pain and suffering we might be going through, we are to trust in God, even though it can be hard. We will all encounter pain and suffering like the Israelites, but God was with them and he will be with us too. We can look back at our past and grieve, but there comes a time when we need to stand up and do something about it like the author in Nehemiah did when he asked the king to go back to rebuild the city. He was suffering, but he decided to do something about it. We have to get back into action after suffering because suffering can only take us so far. I could have kept grieving about my grandmother’s death and never volunteered at hospice again. But God called me, as he calls all of us, to pick myself up after the tragic event as a stronger person and to follow his call.

Today we are called to think about what we would do if God called us to drop everything and follow him. Would we sit in suffering thinking about all that we may lose and all the sacrifices we would have to make? Or would we full heartedly follow him? Today is all about putting trust in the Lord even during the most difficult times. We are called to ask 'can I put my full trust in him?'

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