“Behold I am with you always, even to the close of the age.”

Matthew 28:20

Jesus promised that He would never abandon His people; He promised that He would remain until the end of time. Jesus walked the earth over 2000 years ago, yet He is still present and active in the lives of His people. He is with them. However, recognizing God’s presence in our world today takes a ‘trained eye’ and an act of faith. Jesus can most readily be recognized through the witness of Christian people, people who acknowledge and testify to the power and presence of God in their lives. The ‘Encounter with Christ’ stories help to highlight how God is working in the lives of the people in the parish of St. Magdalen’s Church. These stories are meant to help those who read them to more easily recognize God’s presence in their own lives. God wants to be known by you and to work in your life—invite Him to do so.

Finding God in Hardship

03-27-2016Encountering ChristAnonymous

I was not raised in a Christian home, even so, I had heard that the Christian God loves us and answers prayers. So as a teenager when my mother was dying of cancer I prayed to God to grant her a cure. I prayed to Him and to every other deity I knew, just to be safe. Yet in my heart of hearts I wanted to believe that God was real and that if He was real He would prove this by preventing my mother from dying. When my mother did die, despite my prayers, I hated God for it.. It wasn't until I was in college and met my husband who was a practicing Catholic, that I acknowledged that God was real and began to understand how God communicates His love to His children.

In my senior year of college, my boyfriend and I decided to go camping in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. It rained every day, progressively more and more. By the third day we had, had enough so we packed everything up and attempted to cross three creeks, made increasingly fuller by the rainfall. We crossed the two largest creeks with little trouble but when we got to the last creek I got washed down river and was jammed under a fallen tree. Water was rushing over me, towards my face. I couldn't pick up my head and my heavy back-pack made it impossible for me to break free. All I could see was a light. Meanwhile my boyfriend had followed me into the water and was seeking to resuscitate me. I was blue and had no pulse. Finally, after several attempts at CPR, I began to breath. We were both soaking wet and I was suffering from hypothermia. As I thought about how cold I was, my boyfriend was praying silently for something to wrap me in. Around the bend we both spotted a bush with a sheet that was dry, despite the rain which had been pouring down all day. We had lost everything except a fanny pack with our car keys, licenses and some beef jerky. As daylight was fading we met another couple on the trail who led us back to the parking lot where our car was located.

It was not in "the light" I saw that God's presence was made manifest to me--it was in how my boyfriend cared for me, how God provided the sheet to wrap me in and the couple to guide us back home. I see now that every time there has been hardship in my life, God has not taken that hardship away but has been with me in the struggle, providing for my needs.