In the middle of a frustrating situation, Rebecca Martin found an opportunity to be a blessing the very person who arrived to help her.
The day before the movers came, I loaded up our little car and backed out of the driveway, headed to the new house for a handful of chores. I didn’t get very far when I realized something wasn’t right—sure enough, one flat tire and one with a sidewall bulge. Great timing, right?
“Why, Lord? Why now?” I complained, in that lament familiar to all of us. But when the AAA mechanic showed up, I got my answer.
I made an offhand comment about moving, and he mentioned needing to find a house for himself and his three kids. They’re currently crammed into a two-bedroom apartment, his oldest daughter needs her own space—and they live right down the street. We chatted, I showed him around the house, gave him the contact info for our property manager, and told him if he did get the house he’d be welcome to the window AC units that we already know fit the windows.
Now, I don’t know if it will all work out; I don’t know what his circumstances or finances are, or whether our landlord already has applications for this house. (But say a prayer for him, would you?) What I do know is that the Lord decided to hit me upside the head with a two-by-four that afternoon.
Whenever we ask God “Why?” we are often unprepared for the answer. Well, to be fair, we often don’t receive an answer at all! Sometimes, however, the answer is that our suffering is necessary. For our own purification, for the salvation of the world, for an example to those around us—and sometimes, so that we can be in just the right place and time to meet someone who needs what we can give.
Even getting a clear answer doesn’t alleviate the suffering, however. My case was a minor inconvenience, easily dealt with; but many of our crosses are far bigger and more consuming than a simple flat tire. And we still have to carry that cross, deal with that suffering, often in what feels like utter silence from the Most High. What are we to do?
What did Jesus do? In the agony of Holy Thursday, he too pled with God, “Let this chalice pass from me; nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.” It’s okay to ask for relief. It’s okay to ask the Lord why this suffering, why right now. It’s okay to be grieving and hurting and stressed and worn out. Never doubt that!
But God’s ways are so much bigger than our ways. You may never know the soul you’ve affected by your example or your witness, but you can be confident that we are all connected as children of God and members of the human race. There may be one soul out there, just one, for whom your suffering opens up a great grace.
I really do hope my tire guy gets this house. I like to think of kids living here and another family enjoying this space that has served us for the first two years of our marriage. But even if he doesn’t, and I never find out what becomes of him or this house, I’m grateful for the lesson the Lord chose to teach through him.
May we learn to be receptive to the moments in which the Lord asks us to be a blessing to another, even when it comes in the midst of our own struggles.
Copyright 2022 Rebecca W. Martin Images: Canva Pro
About Rebecca W. Martin
Rebecca Martin serves as Associate Editor for Our Sunday Visitor’s trade books, and Daily Gospel Reflections editor at CatholicMom.com. A native Hoosier and Christendom College alumna, she lives in southeast Michigan with her husband and three cats. She is a Lay Dominican, book addict, Shakespeare fangirl, amateur baker, and musician.