I’ll be honest when I say that I find it hard to relate to Anna when it comes to worrying about my loved ones when they travel. My brother spent an entire summer studying abroad, but I was still able to keep in touch with him. But I do know that there are parents out there who deal with the horror of their child being missing. I can’t imagine that kind of pain and anxiety and I feel glad that my parents never had to experience that.
On the other hand, I do understand what it feels like to be impatient. I also know what it feels like to make a mountain out of a molehill. Today’s passage from Isaiah reminds us “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”
Impatience and anger are both forms of short-sightedness. While Tobit is assured of Tobias’s safe return in spite of his physical blindness, Anna is equally blind due to her anxiety and impatience. Like Anna, we may not see the blessings in our lives due to our own myopic attitudes. Sometimes, we tend to make the biggest deals out of problems that aren’t actually that big a deal in the long run. Or we can be like Tobit and ignore our problems and pretend that they don’t exist.
The passage from Isaiah reminds us that God is already making things happen. We just can’t see them yet. It’s hard for us to see the changes in our lives when we only consider our immediate circumstances. Change always starts in the interior and slowly manifests in our lives. Most of us are used to having some kind of sign that marks our progress, like grades or promotions. But God doesn’t measure success in the same way that we do. Instead, the only way that we can measure change with God is if we do His will in contrast to not doing His will. Nothing more and nothing less.
One instance of this was when I went out with my friends and I saw someone who reminded me of a person who hurt me in the past. I'm not sure if it was actually that person or just a doppelganger, but it was years since I last saw this person who hurt me. When I thought about how I would feel if it was actually that person, I felt nothing. After years of nightmares, i realized that God had set me free from the anger, anxiety, and fear I felt towards this person because I forgave them. It’s a moment of growth that I’ll always feel grateful for.
Today, offer up prayers for all the missing children and their families as well as for those in your life who you feel have hurt you in the worst possible way. I pray that God gives you the grace to help you let go of all the pain that you have in your heart.
STUDY QUESTIONS: Have you ever felt stuck in a rut or saw yourself as being stagnant when in reality you were going through a major interior change? Think of a time when someone said that you have changed but you didn’t feel like you did. What are some areas in life that you wish you could change? What do you think you can do to start making changes, even if they start out in a small way?