A word on Suffering and Providence

The year 2019 is three weeks old. It has not been a good year for me so far. I will not go into details apart from sufferings from bad weather and extended power outages, some trouble with family members that required the attention of police, and transportation issues. May as well toss in some health concerns while I’m at it.

My typical reaction has been a common and understandable one: “This year sucks already and I can’t wait for 2020.” Not a great way to begin a year, wishing it was already over.

However, through it all God’s Providence has shown itself. The Lord has carried us through all the “stuff” so far, and done so marvelously. In one issue He had helped us in a way I wouldn’t have bothered to script, thinking “It doesn’t happen that way.” (For a variety of reasons I won’t describe the issue.)

This all had me thinking. Especially as every time I think “This year sucks…” I get a feeling that I am being ungrateful. And so I thought about that.

Therefore I have tried to start thinking rather than regard 2019 as a Year of Hell and I Wish It Would Just End Already; I am instead going to start thinking that it might be a year in which God works His Divine Providence in my life (and perhaps my wife’s life and a few others’) in an awesome manner.

Perhaps that’s just “wishful thinking” to help me cope with a sucky year. 😉 But then again, we are supposed to have Faith. We are supposed to Trust in Jesus; have faith and confidence that He will show His Mercy and Love (and Justice) and will take care of our needs.

So that’s it: from now on I will just accept suffering as a way for God to show His Providence in my life. This is not new or original. It is a basic concept from the Gospel and Catholicism. All Christians are supposed to “take up our cross and follow Him.” Some people do this and grip their cross firmly, almost as if they were crucified to it. Others grip it but just hold onto it and cope. And still others drag it along resentfully behind them. (This is actually an image described by a saint in his or her writings; I’m wracking my brain but I can’t think of who it is. Perhaps the “Imitation of Christ?” “Divine Intimacy?” If I discover the source I’ll update the post. If any reader recognizes it, email me or post the info in a comment.)

UPDATE: Turns out it was neither the “Imitation of Christ” or “Divine Intimacy.” Rather, it was in St. Faustina Kowalska’s diary, “Divine Mercy in My Soul.” I rediscovered it during a recent rereading of that text. (Buy it if you don’t already have it. Don’t just read it; study it.)

Found in paragraph 446, it goes (words in bold are Jesus’):

“Then I saw the Lord Jesus nailed to the cross. When He had hung on it for a while, I saw a multitude of souls crucified like Him. Then I saw a second multitude of souls, and a third. The second multitude were not nailed to [their] crosses, but were holding them firmly in their hands. The third were neither nailed to [their] crosses nor holding them firmly in their hands, but were dragging [their] crosses behind them and were discontent. Jesus then said to me, Do you see these souls? Those who are like Me in the pain and contempt they suffer will be like Me also in glory. And those who resemble Me less in pain and contempt will also bear less resemblance to Me in glory.

Among the crucified souls, the most numerous were those of the clergy. I also saw some crucified souls whom I knew, and this gave me great joy. Then Jesus said to me, In your meditation tomorrow, you shall think about what you have seen today. And immediately Jesus disappeared on me.”

I wrote twice before on this: Just Enough and Crucible of Faith

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)


  1. I’m going to focus on Gods providence instead of thinking My Life Sucks. Thank you for the direction. I need to stop being so self centered. You are appreciated!

  2. Wow! Your comments are amazing and inspiring to me. I too am having some major problems, and while I don’t wish the year to be over, I do complain. I think we are ungrateful and your comments have opened up my mind and I can see the truth in them. Thank you so very much, I may print your comments out and put them on my wall.

  3. Hi I keep reading this post. It helps. Also I had the realization that when I pass I am going to have to answer to God for all the times I’ve been weak. So far that helps when I think about having a drink.

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