Make a Box out of acacia wood…. Cover it with pure gold inside and out and put a gold border all around it….Put the two stone tables inside the Box and put the lid on top of it. Exodus 25: 10-11; 21
When God led the Hebrew slaves out of bondage through the desert, he instructed Moses to build a container covered in pure gold, an ark to hold the covenant between God and his people. Where did the gold come from? The Hebrews’ former oppressors gave it to them when they left Egypt. (Exodus 12: 35-36)
St. Paul says we are temples of the Holy Spirit, people of the new covenant. Like the Hebrew slaves, what holds us captive or weighs us down can provide what we need to enhance our relationship with God. When we surrender the self-will that dominates us, along with the pain and fear it generates, they become precious gifts. Our burdens are transformed into blessings that enrich and deepen our connection to God.
When my mom was seriously ill, I desperately wanted her to get well. As I prayed for her recovery, doubt crept into my heart. What if my prayers weren’t answered? What if Mom’s physical recovery wasn’t God’s will for her? What would happen to her? What would happen to my faith? Could I still have faith?
If I wanted to trust God no matter what, I had to stop telling him what to do. Terrified of an uncertain outcome, I began praying that God wrap my mom in his love and hold her close to him. I prayed that his will for her be done—no matter what it was. That was a request I had the utmost faith God would grant.
As my prayers changed, my heart changed, too. Mom was so weak. Maybe she would have less suffering if God called her home. How did I know what was best for her? It cost me something more precious than gold to let go of what I wanted and trust God’s will. As acceptance and peace grew within my heart, I was able to be there for my mom in loving ways—ways that would have been impossible if I was absorbed in my own sorrow. Day by day, we were able to share much joy and consolation as she moved closer to going home to God.
God wants to free us from the bondage of our own self-will. He turns our burdens to gold as we release them to his care, follow his directions, and draw closer to him.
Copyright 2017, Barbara Hosbach