Recently I have been asking God for a Rhema, a word for me that comes straight from His heart. Occasionally, He has given me one at crucial moments and they have always been life changing. I am not a mystic, given to visions or interlocutions but just like anyone who follows Jesus in earnest, I have been blessed with these lights along my way which have served as signposts to guide me on the often murky and dangerous path I walk.
When a Rhema comes it illuminates the darkness and shows me the surrounding terrain bathed in light. I am filled with a flood of certainty and hope and suddenly feel as if I can go on and face whatever challenges me. During times of acute struggle, when I am sorely tempted to conclude that Jesus has forgotten me, I have gotten into the habit of recalling past Rhemas so that I might be strengthened by remembering just how faithfully God has always guided me out of what seemed at times impossible.
So yesterday, there was a lot happening in my little world and my husband was away, which left me as the sole adult in charge of teenage boys. A gloom began to steal over me due to various problems that seemed insoluble. Some of these problems were of a perennial nature that I, for the most part, had learned to live with but which on occasion reared their ugly heads and opened up old wounds. Others were new and needed to be addressed by me, the mother, and if I didn’t somehow deal with them correctly they threatened to: 1. Lead to a crisis and 2. Become one of the afore mentioned perennial problems, yet another situation that I felt helpless to correct.
I drove to Mass, but didn’t realize that there was no Mass. When I arrived I was very disappointed. I couldn’t receive Jesus so I decided to go spend time with Him in His Blessed Sacrament. Entering the chapel, I fell to my knees, with my list running through my head at full tilt. I was just about to pray my rosary when God spoke. His voice was so unbelievably tender that tears stung my eyes.
“Come here child! You are weary and need to rest. Climb up into my lap, lay all your burdens down and let me hold you.”
That was it? He wasn’t challenging me or urging me to suffer for lost souls? He wasn’t pointing out where I had sinned or chiding me for once again, failing to trust Him after all He has done for me?
I couldn’t help but tell Him everything: my sense of having done such a poor job of loving all of my children; my constant self-accusation that my older ones wouldn’t be struggling with this or that if only I had known when they were younger how to help them; and then the aching realization that I was no better able to help the ones that were still at home; and that someday, when they were suffering, I would feel I had failed them too. Besides all of this, I had a crisis waiting for me at home, a new situation that I needed to fix but knew I couldn’t. I told Jesus all about that one as well and confessed that He must do what He alone could do because as He held me close listening intently, I realized that I was never meant to try and carry all of this – I was just too small. As I rested against His heart, my burdens were slipping one by one from my arms to the floor and I felt intense relief
It reminded me of the many occasions when the house was in total chaos and I, pressed for time, hurriedly piled up laundry into a broken basket to wash. As I walked around the bedrooms, I inevitably found trash or a stray coffee cup, glass, or book and would add these to my already unwieldy pile. While struggling to keep my grasp of the overflowing basket, I would finally stagger down the stairs praying that somehow I wouldn’t lose my footing. The pressure to get it all done, make order appear out of the morass, often drove me to fool hardiness.
Now Jesus was giving me a new Rhema: “Put it all down, you will only hurt yourself. Let me carry you and all of your concerns.”
It is difficult to describe the tenderness this conveyed to me. It caught me off guard. He wasn’t looking at my failures, what I still had to do before the clock ran out. He was just looking after me and was concerned. The God of the entire universe, of all that was and of all that would ever be, wanted more than anything else to hold me and tell me He loved me!
The burdens I had carried in were all over the floor but that was ok; Jesus Himself would clean up after me. I was resting and it felt wonderful, refreshing. Didn’t God say, “Come to me all of you who are heavy burdened and I will give you rest”? Apparently He meant it and interestingly enough, when I finally went home, that teenager, the one precipitating the crisis, somehow looked very different to me. “He is,” I observed fondly, “a rather nice looking kid.” I hugged him tightly and told him just how much I loved him and miracle of miracles, that crisis, the one that had driven me to Jesus, had mysteriously vanished.