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Abundance and Suffering

It clearly was silly to ever have worried that I'd have enough produce to put up this year. I'm literally getting inundated with free produce, not just from the garden but from friends of friends who happen to have a field of sweet corn… or Concord grapes… or elderberries. This week alone I have already put up onions, carrots, peppers and sweet corn and I'm about to also make and put up elderberry syrup and grape juice!

The abundance is kicking my butt, actually. It's hard work. Hours of cutting, slicing, packing, boiling. Lots of late nights because even during the harvest season modern life goes on. I have some equipment to make the job easier, but for the most part fall back on using the basics: knives, peelers, my own hands, and always time and energy.

I am not complaining. I am grateful for the way God has so richly provided for me and my family. I love how I have not paid a dime for any of the vegetables destined for jars or freezer bags. Come winter I am going to cherish being able to whip up a meal in fifteen minutes by picking and choosing which canned or bagged items will go into the soup or stew. I'm planning to grow a winter herb garden in my kitchen so I can easily add savor to all the (home) processed meals.

I'm also grateful for the hard work and the fact that dealing with the abundance is so demanding and taxing. That too is a gift from God. Hard work, sore muscles, early mornings and late nights are some of the things that help me to persevere, and in so doing, build endurance in myself. In other words, these things make me stronger. God works through these things to build my character, to make me more like Himself if I will allow Him.

I think about some of the best gifts that God has given: His Son, salvation, the Holy Spirit, creation, a spouse and children, a life calling, talents. These are all gifts freely given. You can't buy or earn them and it would be foolish to try. You accept them with gratitude. And yet all of these gifts have components that will absolutely kick your butt.

Have you invited Jesus into your life? Great. Now He wants to be in charge of your life. Do you have the Holy Spirit in your heart? Great. He's like a fire burning hot and consuming everything in its path. You may not recognize yourself anymore. We've all heard and maybe even experienced how marriage and parenting can be both awesome and difficult at the same time, and if you're good at something you have to work at it to be the best you can be.

Is there any gift from God that doesn't involve suffering?

Is the suffering not a gift too? I believe it is. It is one important way God brings to life in us what He secured for us through Jesus' sacrificial death on Calvary.

So yes, I'm grateful for the abundance, and I'm grateful for the suffering that comes with it.

Religion | Catholicism


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