Jesus said to the crowd:
“They will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to the prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” Lk 21:12-19
What a message that we have here. At first blush, when you read this, and if you were to start off learning about Jesus with this passage, it would tough to follow this person. No one wants to be persecuted for their beliefs or things that they are afflicted with. It would be the last line that would win everyone over… perseverance securing your life.
I know that I have depression, asthma, allergies, and now, this new allergy to gluten. I have to deal with each one of these individually on a constant basis. Each one of them also comes with a stigma. They are all health issues that I have, and in no way did I ask for these to be apart of my life at all. No where in my mind did I decide, hey, I want to have my lungs not function like they are supposed to. People still judge each one of these health issues, whether they consciously do or not, they immediately have an idea of what or who I am because of them.
Asthma and allergies I have had since I was little. It was hard to deal with at first. I could see other kids out playing, running, and me, I would be winded and wheezy after five minutes. It was not fun being that kid that couldn’t do all of that. It however, opened me up to the fact that I don’t have to run with the masses all the time. I can go my own direction and not have to be the same as everyone else. I still manage it to this day, it is apart of me, but it does not define me.
Gluten, what an evil thing to do to a person that loves food. Over the past few months, I have had to really change my life and diet. Yeah, it is tough for me, because I am a fan of food. Fried, spicy, good food. Well, I can not eat that stuff anymore. I try not to complain about it, and it is new, so I am getting used to it. I know that it will only be a good thing as I change how I am treating my body. If I can not have it, then I have to find an alternative, and that can only open up new flavors and things to try in my life.
Depression. The monster that I am still dealing with on a daily basis. Every day that I wake up, I have won a little more of this battle. There is no greater gift that God could have given me than this. With this, depression, people who do not understand it will make you out to be one of the most useless humans ever. They hear the word and immediately think that it is debilitating in some way. They are right, for someone who has it and does not try to work through it. It can totally ruin someone who does not have any hope and no support system. It can devastate someone. It almost took my life from me. I however, refuse to let it win. It does not define me, it actually has made the think of creative ways to feel better on a daily basis. It has caused me to understand humans and how they are, and operate with each other on a much deeper level. I would not wish this on my enemy, but there is a reason why it was given to me. With that, I have to use this gift and pass it along, that is the Christian thing to do.
Being Catholic, I am also looked at as strange. People who do not understand the religion take shots at it all the time. It does not keep me from being Catholic. I think that all in all, my religion has been nothing but helpful to me and all of the above things I have talked about. It has centered me and made me really start to love myself, and everything that comes with it. People do not understand it, and sometimes they do not agree with all the rituals and history behind the Catholic faith, but at its core is the basis of being Christian. Yes, I can be persecuted all day long, but in the end I am persevering through it all.