By Joelle Maryn
Slave to our Thoughts
Have you ever felt like a slave to your circumstances or to the thoughts that run through your mind? You know, when the same thought occurs over and over again, almost as if you’re on a merry-go-round. You want to get off, but it just won’t stop. You’re dizzy, confused, and tired from going in circles. The negative thinking begins to create a feeling of hopelessness, and it seems as if the sun will never shine again.
In today’s first reading, we get a glimpse of this. Job was a righteous and faithful man who ultimately was rewarded in the end. But he was human and suffered moments of despair. He was becoming hopeless about his circumstances and life’s purpose.
Slave for Christ
In contrast, St. Paul raises his thoughts on the good that can come through suffering. He looks for ways to preach and connect with what others are experiencing. The difference is that this option produces joy and life! He is hope-filled for the sake of the Gospel and leading others to Christ.
However, St. Paul could not have done this unless he first received some healing and was open to the love of God. It’s only by God’s strength and grace that we can begin to be His instruments and mouthpieces.
We see this in the Gospel when Jesus uses His healing touch to cure Simon’s mother in law, the first thing she did was serve them. Healing allows us to turn outward and help others, while slavery to negativity keeps us turned inward going nowhere.
But I think sometimes we prefer going in circles. Maybe we are afraid of where the Lord will lead us or what He will ask us to do, forgetting that it will ultimately lead to our happiness and the fulfillment of the mission He has given us.
Our Need for Healing
In the Gospel, we also see the connection to Jesus preaching and healing others. It’s His truth that sets us free and helps us get on the right path again.
A memory came up when I was reflecting on these readings. I was out one-night doing street ministry, and a man came up to us for food. He seemed like a dead man walking and wore his troubles on his face. It became apparent that he wasn’t just hungry for food but hungry to be seen and to have someone to share his story. Like Job, he was innocent, but God allowed this hardship to happen. Although he never stopped loving God, he felt forgotten, unwanted, alone, and helpless. He bought into the lies of the enemy. He thought his life was over and held no purpose.
After he poured his heart out, we shared Scripture and words of truth to lift him. He then asked for prayer. When we finished praying, we witnessed that the Lord indeed healed him. His face lit up and was vibrant. It was like watching the dead come to life. He was also praising God and couldn’t wait to tell others around us the good news. Lastly, he was shaking the huge bag of food we gave him and said, “now I can finally eat.” These words shocked me; you mean we were giving a huge bag of food to someone that couldn’t even eat it?
He said he had been too depressed and had no appetite for several days. It’s interesting that healing actually produced a new hunger, a hunger to be united with others again and to share a meal. A hunger for the whole world to know how good God is and to preach the truth! Startled, I realized that healing on the outside begins first on the inside. Uniting with the suffering of others and feeding a hungry heart is the greatest medicine of all. A touch of love, a word of truth, a prayer from the heart are all simple things we can do that have an eternal effect and heal others. The earthly is passing, and only love will remain.
Lord Jesus, I open my heart to hear your truth. Please heal me in any way that is needed mind, heart, body, and soul. Help me to know your will in my life and give me the grace and strength to do it. Amen
Call to Action
Pray about the lies that hold you back from serving the Lord and search for Scripture to replace them with the Truth. Spend 5 minutes in silence letting the Scripture sink into your heart.