Difficulties Don't Mean Defeat

By Marc Massery

Turn to any page of St. Faustina’s Diary, and you’ll find spiritual gems. Like this one:

True works of God always meet opposition and are marked by suffering. If God wants to accomplish something, sooner or later He will do so in spite of the difficulties. Your part, in the meantime, is to arm yourself with great patience (270).

Sometimes, amidst the daily struggles of living out our Catholic faith, we tend to forget an important truth about suffering — that it is often a sign that we are doing God’s work. When God puts certain desires into our hearts, He tends to make us wait patiently for them to come to fruition. In the meantime, difficulties arise, tempting us to doubt. 

Perhaps you’re waiting for the right job, the right spouse, the right house to buy, or for healing from an illness. God tasks all of us, at some point in our lives, to wait for Him to come through on His promises. In St. Faustina’s Diary, she writes about the desires the Lord put into her heart: for the painting of the Divine Mercy Image, the spreading of the Divine Mercy devotions, the establishment of Divine Mercy Sunday, and a new congregation to be instituted. The Lord eventually accomplished all of these, some of them during St. Faustina’s lifetime. In the meantime, though, He allowed many difficulties to arise in her life, sometimes causing her to doubt her mission. 

In order for St. Faustina to fulfill what the Lord was asking for her, she needed a spiritual director. This was another promise the Lord had made to her, that she would have one. But she had to wait many years for Fr. Michael Sopocko to come into her life. Meanwhile, her superiors doubted her and other sisters criticized her. She also was suffering from tuberculosis. Difficulties never seemed to relent in St. Faustina’s life.

Through her patient suffering, though, St. Faustina came to see that difficulties come and go, but that the Lord ultimately overcomes them all, albeit in His own way. Elsewhere in her Diary, she writes, “And the greater the difficulties which I see, the more am I at peace. … [D]ifficulties will not suppress the works of God, but show that they are God’s” (764). Saint Faustina learned to recognize difficulties, not as reasons to get discouraged, but as reasons to hope. She discovered that that’s simply the way the Lord works. 

The Lord frequently calls upon us to wait upon Him. This truth permeates Scripture, especially the Old Testament: 

I believe I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the Lord! (Ps 27:13-14)

You that fear the Lord, wait for his mercy, do not stray lest you fall. You that fear the Lord, trust in him, and your reward will not be lost. (Sir 2:7-8)

So, if you’re waiting for the Lord to come through in your life, you’re in good company. Saint Faustina had to wait patiently for the Lord, as did every person who followed Him going back to ancient times. Therefore, when difficulties arise in your life, making what the Lord promised for you seem impossible, do not get discouraged. Try and look at the difficulties with wonder, knowing what a marvel it will be when the Lord finally does work everything out. 

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

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