April 16, 2020 Facing Adversity - Father Michael's Words to Live By

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed…” (2 Cor. 4:8)

Dear Christ Church Family and Friends,

Thinking back, I must confess that there have been a few times in my life when I wanted to run away and escape all my problems and adversities.  The experts refer to this as the “Flight” versus “Fight” syndrome.   Our defense mechanisms kick in and in order to survive, we run away from danger; we evacuate to a safe distance when adversity comes; we seek to escape to that special place when life gets difficult. 

However, in our current and global health crisis – if this was our modus operandi, we would discover that there would be no real safe place to run away to.  And so, considering this reality: I believe the Lord calls us to face this crisis, this adversity head-on rather than running away from it.  However, I must readily confess: “This is certainly easier said than done.”


“If I have learned anything in life, it’s that I owe it neither to precepts nor to books, but to a few opportune misfortunes.  Perhaps the school of misfortune is the very best.”                                              ~ Louise Honorine De Choiseul

“When God permits his children to go through the furnace, he keeps his eye on the clock and his hand on the thermostat.”                             ~ Warren Wiersbe


As you fly over the North Atlantic Sea you will see the awesome sight of icebergs floating in those cold and icy waters.  If you look carefully you will see a pattern develop: small icebergs will be moving in one direction and gigantic icebergs will be moving in another.  The explanation of this phenomenon is that surface winds are driving the small icebergs while the huge ones are controlled by the deep ocean currents.

There is a lesson in this for us.  Lives are driven by two forces.  “Small lives” are often driven to and fro by the surface winds of change, adversity, and challenging circumstances.  Despair, depression and discouragement overwhelm.  On the other hand, there are “great lives”, gigantic in stature, which are never moved by the petty blowing of the surface wind.  These great lives, with foundations running deep in immovable faith, are controlled by the deep-running movements of a wise, loving and all-powerful God.  Let the winds blow!  Let them move others around!  Despite what happens, these lives remain steady and sure.

Oscar Wilde wrote: “In this world there are only two tragedies.  One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”  To rephrase his thought, I suggest there are likewise only two joys:  One is having God answer all your prayers; the other is not receiving the answer to all your prayers.  I believe this because I have found that God knows my needs infinitely better than I know them.  And God is utterly dependable, no matter which direction my circumstances take me. 

PRAYER FOR THIS WEEK:  Teach me, O God, to use all the circumstances of my life today that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness. Let me use disappointment as material for patience: Let me use success as material for thankfulness: Let me use suspense as material for perseverance: Let me use danger as material for courage: Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering: Let me use praise as material for humility: Let me use pleasures as material for temperance: Let me use pains as material for endurance.                  

                                                                                                   ~ John Baillie


Fr. Michael+

ON A LIGHT NOTE:  [For all parents with kids in college]

Dear Dad,

$chool i$ really great. I am making lot$ of friend$ and $tudying very hard. With all my $tuff, I $imply can't think of anything I need. $o if you would like, you can ju$t $end me a card, a$ I would love to hear from you.


Your $on


The Dad’s Reply:

Dear Son,

I kNOw that astroNOmy, ecoNOmics, and oceaNOgraphy are eNOugh to keep even an hoNOr student busy. Do NOt forget that the pursuit of kNOwledge is a NOble task, and you can never study eNOugh.