On Tuesday, as we were having lunch with Bishop Robert Gruss of the Diocese of Rapid City, I felt my phone vibrate with a notification and at the same time I heard Tony’s phone give off a notification sound as well.
I had a bad feeling it was not good news…sure enough…our flights for the next day were canceled because Winter Storm Ulmer was knocking on the door. The prediction…PAIN…8 to 18 inches of snow with gust up to 60mph!!!!
On Wednesday our flights were again canceled leaving us with the hope of heading home on Friday. Praying to the Lord that we could get home to see our family during this extremely busy time of Lent for Casting Nets.
This prayer reminded me of being a Bad Weather Friend…
In the story of the Ten Plagues in Exodus when the hardship was upon Pharaoh he would repent and cry out to Moses to beg the Lord God to relent. Pharaoh would even promise to let the people go, but…
“When Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart, and would not listen to them as the Lord had said” (Ex 8:15).
You have heard of fair weather fans, well Pharaoh was clearly a Bad Weather Friend, and how easy is it for all of us to fall into this mindset.
When things are going as we think they should, we become comfortable and confident in our own talents and resources.
Many of you know that two years ago we made the decision to stop charging honorariums for our parish missions. The parish simply covers the cost of travel and we rely on the generosity of the attendees to “pay-it-forward” for the Mission Forward Initiative. About a year ago we were doing a mission at a parish with about 2,000 families in which 70 people showed up to the mission.
As Tony was speaking the first night I was praying to the Lord, “How will we be able to continue to offer this model? Lord you will need to give the people a generous heart.” I could almost audibly hear the Lord say, “Chris, if there were 1,000 people in there you would not even be praying to me right now about this.” Touché!
We do this with our evangelization and ministry efforts all the time. When programs are running smoothly, numbers are up, people seem to enjoy what we are offering, e are having deep meaningful conversations with those we are trying to reach, or people seem genuinely open and interested in the Faith…we do not worry so much about begging the Lord for great levels of grace.
But let a little blizzard blow through our evangelization and ministry efforts and we realize what we should never forget…it is never our work…it is always is the LORD’S WORK!!!
So the upside about being stuck inside while there is a white out going on outside, is that you are given the opportunity to realize that the Lord can move hearts in any conditions. You realize that I don’t want to be just a Bad Weather Friend but instead I want my confidence and comfort to be in Christ.
“We shall steer safely through every storm so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God.” – St. Francis de Sales
Co-Founder & COO
Casting Nets Ministries
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