When the whole world becomes chaos it’s so easy to feel forgotten and unseen. But even amidst all of this God has not forgotten us. It’s easy to say that, but I know for a lot of us right now that’s hard to believe. But I’d like to share a story that really touched my heart this week and made me realize just how close God is to us.
Earlier this week a very close friend of mine texted me saying she needed prayers. She told me she hasn’t prayed or been to mass in a long time, and she said she felt completely abandoned by God. So I did pray, but I also called her. (and for the sake of keeping her anonymous we are going to change her name to Jane).
We started talking about life in general, and then we trickled into talking about God. She told me how she thought I was such a huge Catholic nerd when I came back for Christmas break my freshmen year, but then when she saw my sister come back from college with a change of heart as well Jane recognized within herself a desire to have that same zeal but did not think it was possible. She thought God did not will for that to ever happen to her. Then this summer she really struggled with depression, and suicidal thoughts, and that’s when she really began to question her faith and if God loved her at all. She felt so hurt that God would allow her to experience that. She told me how one night back in February she yelled up at the crucifix on her wall and said “help me” and then not even two seconds later I had texted me out of the blue that read “Jesus wanted me to tell you that He sees you and loves you and longs to heal your heart.” And it’s true Jesus did long to heal her heart and still does, but Jane still went on to explain how she felt stuck like God was very real for her in that moment, but she still questioned where he was when he needed her most. Where was He on the night she tried to commit suicide? She questioned why he wasn’t there to stop her from something the church teaches to be one of the most deadly sins?
I said to her, “Jane you have no idea how much God loves you.” I told her how this summer I had no idea what was going on in her life, but Jesus put it on my heart to pray for her. At one point I received a message from someone saying that Jane has not herself lately and to keep you in my prayers. So I continued to pray for her and even told my fellow crossroads team to pray for her as well. I put her in our daily petitions, we offered up decades of the rosary…… Then I recalled how a few weeks after that my teammate Noah, who has the most beautiful gift of empathy from the Holy Spirit, came up to me and said that he had been feeling deeply saddened and depressed all day, and he felt that it had something to do with Jane, and my heart just sank, but once again we continued to pray all the more.
At this point, Jane is already in teary-eyed seeing how much these complete strangers cared about her enough to pray for her this summer. She interrupts me and asks when exactly was all this, and I said oh sometimes within a week or two before the fourth of July. And in my head, I was very certain that the day Noah approached me about Jane being in a dark place happened the day after I fell out of the RV and hurt my arm.
Then she starts crying and said, “That was about the time it all went down, and on July 10th I tried to kill my self and then was hospitalized.”Keep in mind I had no idea this is what was happening when we were praying for her this summer. So I said “Jane, don’t you see what God has done for you? Even in your darkest hour He was loving you and chasing you… To the point that he allowed a complete stranger to empathize with you just so you could have some extra prayers lifted up for you.” I think I was just as amazed as she was with God’s immense love.
God did not abandon her, not for a moment. And praise God she is still here and alive. But this story isn’t done yet. The next day I went through my pictures from this summer to piece together what day it was that Noah told me to offer up those extra prayers. I was blown away. On July 9th I hurt my arm. Making it July 10th. July 10th!!!!! July 10th we offered up extra prayers, unknown to us that thousands of miles away she would attempt to kill herself that night. Jesus doesn’t just love Jane in this way, but He also loves you.
Look at John chapter 17. Jesus reveals His greatest desires to the Father before he his handed over to be crucified. And what is that desire? That we may be one with Him. That through God’s great love we may be one as the Trinity is one. That we consecrated in the Truth may NEVER be parted from Him.
No death, no plague, no sin, nor sting could ever separate us from Him. He has not forgotten you, and He will always love you no matter how far you have strayed. He will come to you where you are at when you feel so lost, so confused. And He will whisper “I am with you, did you not believe that I would come to find you? Don’t you know how much I love you?”
God has not abandoned you and there is no place His love does not abide.