Sacrifice, taking up one’s cross, and self-denial all are characteristic of the pursuit of Christian perfection. We are following Christ, after all, and the road is not an easy one. Into every life a little rain must fall. Years ago, there was a cartoon character who always seemed to have a cloud following him. Christians are positive people because Christ is positive. Nevertheless, life is not a bowl of cherries. There are hardships. There is no better way to face difficulties than with faith in Jesus Christ. If believers accept Christ and his teachings, if they embrace his philosophy of living, they can cope.
Calamities are devastating. Earthquakes and hurricanes destroy homes and livelihoods. Sickness and disease steal loved ones from their families. Poverty deprives folks of basic necessities. How can God be the author of all these difficulties?
God does not wish misery on anyone. These negatives are inevitable for all people in all ages. How to cope with them is another matter. How to sail the ship of life through stormy seas is everyone’s dilemma and everyone’s lot in life.
Christians learn to meet the ordinary, daily challenges with faith. Rich and poor manage because they have faith. They do not walk alone. There is a real dependency on God. They acknowledge this dependency. This is the proper perspective. God is the only independent being. Humans are dependent on God for everything. Christians turn to God in prayer. They are in dialogue with God. They build a relationship.
Q. How often should people pray?
A. As often as they like. The habit of prayer is a blessing and a grace. Generally speaking, Christians should pray morning and evening. Some folks tell us they talk to God all day long—which certainly follows Jesus’ admonition to “pray always and not to lose heart.”
Q. Do you feel that people of faith are better able to weather the storms of life than those who have no faith?
A. There is no doubt about it. Jesus teaches us how to pray. He prayed. Prayer is conversation with the heavenly Father. He loves us. Through prayer, our rapport with God is established and we are bonded to him.
To repeat: we do not walk alone. We may lose what is considered important, even precious. But God is with us. Emmanuel! The heavenly Father has sent his Son. We go to the Father through Jesus Christ.