A Catholic Monthly Magazine


by Bill Lambert

by Bill Lambert

As I’ve always believed, one of the great things about the Christian faith is that it offers a 'bob both ways'.  If something bad happens to you, you can always extract good from it – offering it up for a special cause, or finding the peace that willing acceptance of God’s will brings.

Many confuse acceptance with resignation – but there is all the difference in the world.  Resignation is defeatist.  “Ah well, if it’s God’s will I’ll just have to put up with it.”

Acceptance is positive.  “If it’s God’s will then what can I do with it!”

I could instance this with the attitudes of  two professional men I know who were afflicted with blindness in the prime of life.  One took refuge in his home and endured his blindness calmly and stoically.  The other – supported by his wife -  has taken a leading role in church activities…. joined a Lions Club and served as President… and is living a very full life.

It’s only natural to feel a sense of loss and resentment when something precious is taken from you  - your health, your job, a family member.  Letting go is so hard to do. You feel completely helpless.  Yet that very helplessness is the key to acceptance.  You just hand it over to the Lord to use as he wants. And then things begin to happen.

I recall when four years ago our house burnt down and we lost all our personal possessions.  Mine included a library of old New Zealand books I had collected over the years… model sailing ships I had built… antique furniture I had crafted.. a collection of favourite music…  all gone. 

My wife and I simply said: “ That’s OK Lord.  It was great having all those toys we enjoyed.  You can have them back with our thanks.”

With that prayer came acceptance of the situation.  The loss of  those valued possessions didn’t hurt all that much.   And now, thanks to the insurance company, we have a lovely new home.

Returning to my first example.  Milton said it all in his sonnet On His Blindness:

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker and present
My true account, lest He returning chide….” 

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