By Michaela Hillam
MY heart is heavy. There are so many people running through my mind – people who I know have had an experience of Christ, who even followed Him for a little while, but ultimately fell away from their faith.
I see them now living lives of darkness and their eyes are empty, shoulders slumped. They say to me, “I don’t understand what’s happened to me.” “Why is life so hard?” “Why do I attract all the wrong guys?”
They’ve grown proud, cynical, ignorant. It’s so painful to watch. I ache for them but I know there is nothing I can do but stand on the sidelines and pray.
It’s like the story of the paraplegic and his four friends. There was nothing the friends could do while their paraplegic friend suffered, day in, day out, but serve him and stand by him. When the time was right, though, they took him right to the healing power of Jesus.
They were not the saviours – Jesus was. Waiting for that time is tough.
It means watching them fall, deeper and deeper – swallowing your tongue when they make bad choices, bailing them out when they are in trouble, crying tears for them that they will never know about and experiencing such a deep sense of hopelessness on their behalf. If only they knew.
I’ve come to notice that in every case there is a common denominator just prior to their falling away. Either there’s a boy involved or they experienced a calling to something but decided not to follow it.
The former scenario involves not being formed enough in the Father’s plan for love and life and thus they fall into sexual sin. The latter scenario involves saying “no” to God’s “Perfect Plan A” for their life and falling out of sync with His voice.
This is then soon followed by entering into the former scenario. When I hear of a young woman getting into a relationship I fear for them because this world encourages us to give in to our every desire because, “you deserve it”.
It teaches us that love means to “give and take pleasure”, to sleep with your boyfriend to “see if you’re compatible”, that “I want it, therefore I must have”.
They stop coming to church, lose touch with their Christian friends, move in with their boyfriend for “financial reasons” and it’s not until they face wanting to send their first child to a Catholic school do they even consider returning to the Church. But I guess that’s the consolation – often they do come back.
Perhaps their journey to the Lord is a more roundabout one, but in the end their hearts will be completely sold out for Him – perhaps even more so than the rest of us long-time faithfuls?
So where does that leave us? To trust in the Lord and His greater plan, but also to not give up on these people in our love for them – even if this means praying from afar or walking beside them through their bad choices.
But I’m imperfect and my prayer life shows this. My heart is moved, I become passionate about their return to Christ, I offer up petitions for them, but then grow apathetic.
Their return cannot be done by my prayers alone. Please join with me in praying for the protection of these new converts in their journey towards Christ, for godly role models in their lives and for the return of those fallen away.
Michaela Hillam is a young Catholic blogger from Brisbane.