Customized Sanctification?

David AyresBaustelle BerlinLeave a Comment

The summer is speeding past at an alarming rate. So is life, for that matter! Which is why I find the nuisances of everyday life especially frustrating. So much time and effort is lost dealing with things that make no sense, and, which do not seem to add any value for the present, let alone for eternity. I’m sure you can identify with me regarding those things, which, even after they have been resolved, barely make up the ground we seem to lose in this one-step-forward-two-steps-back life.

My list of recent personal nuisances would fill up several pages, but let me to vent a few of them here (in no particular order.)

In the middle of printing the church bulletins for Sunday, my printer just quit, and required a system reset in order to start printing again. Remembering how to do that (again), required an hour or more of online research. You’d think I would remember the process, since this is not the first time!

Two weeks ago, our dishwasher stopped working. After multiple attempts to reset it and an hour or two of troubleshooting and checking hoses, etc., I determined the problem was due to low water pressure in the house water supply line. The dishwasher works fine when connected to the pipe that supplies our clothes washer. So, I have been switching the hoses back and forth between the dishwasher and clothes washer until I could talk to the Hausmeister about replacing the fitting, which (for no good apparent reason) constricts the water pressure. He told me, yesterday, that I would have to take care of it, myself, so, of course, I went and bought the wrong fitting, which means another trip to return it and to keep looking for the right one, even though, I am pretty sure Bauhaus doesn’t have what I need . . .

On Friday, I took the car in to have all-weather tires installed. (Switching between summer and winter tires was costing us more than 200 euros per year!) What was supposed to be an hour wait time turned into nearly five hours and another utterly pointless and frustrating trip back again, yesterday. I won’t bore you with the details, but this service station has absolutely no concept of customer service.

On Sunday, I forgot to get my bus pass back from Patricia before she flew to China, so this week I must either pay for bus tickets or drive the car. Today, I opted to drive, and it took me “forever” to find a parking place–the very reason I almost always take the bus or train. I could go on, but enough whining!

I realize that all of these things are very much “first-world” problems, and rather minor ones at that! Furthermore, I saw a quote this week from Alphonsus Liguori (an eighteenth-century Catholic bishop and writer) that smacked me in the face: “There is nothing more pleasing to God, than to see a soul who patiently and serenely bears whatever crosses it is sent.”

I was anything but patient and serene, when I left the auto service station (both times). So why do such little things get under my skin so deeply that I feel myself regularly on edge with frustration? It is a hard question. But my sense is that maybe God and I have different ideas about what is important in my life.

My objective is to move through life with as little frustration as possible. God’s objective is to create in me a new heart and to renew a right spirit within me. (I don’t envy Him that task!) My personal sanctification is not very high on my list of daily priorities. In fact, to be honest, it is not a daily priority at all–just a general concept on which I personally spend little energy.

But, perhaps, the nuisances of life are sent as opportunities in which to demonstrate patience or faith or love or joy. Instead of allowing my blood pressure to soar, maybe I should pause and try to consider my life from God’s viewpoint. Whereas, I tend to view nuisance items as an utter waste of my precious time, perhaps, God views them as the very tools with which He is forging personal holiness in me. Perhaps, what I see as my personal list of nuisances, He has given me as my own customized sanctification package.

Does such an idea make me happy? Frankly, no! I want to scream, “Enough, already!” (And that is with a list of comparatively minor complaints!) Which, is why I don’t envy God the task of renewing my heart. I am not what one would call a willing participant in the process. But I do want the image of God to be restored in me. So, may God’s Spirit prevail, and may my attitude change, indeed, may I change–into His likeness, if ever so slowly.

Leave a Reply