by Scott Haner, ISP Louisville 

The Easter season is a time for new beginnings, a time for hope. What was seen as impossible became a reality, opening a myriad of possibilities as we look to the future.

Life can be tough; trauma is real; our choices can overwhelm us. The world seems to define our potential by dwelling on our darkest days.  Addiction to alcohol, drugs, disobedience, or selfishness can hold us hostage. Relationships are damaged, and in some cases destroyed. That can lead to isolation, causing us to lose hope.

But God’s ways are not the world’s, he has a different plan.  He sent the prophet Jeremiah to tell us:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Our higher power wants more for us than we could ever imagine. He offers us freedom to live at the highest level, to reach our potential. Our challenge, our opportunity is to say YES to that plan. We say YES by surrendering our will to the will of our higher power. We say YES by the way we live, by the choices we make, by the way we treat others. In our ego-driven world, Step 3 surrender can be difficult (“made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him”).

One mistake many make on their journey to a better life is thinking they must go it alone. No one is an island; we all need companions on our journey. On the days when we’re weak, they can provide a hand up. On the days when they stumble, we can reach out to them. And it’s important not to forget the greatest resource of all – our higher power.

God is always there to walk with us, in fact, he’s promised to be with us always, so we never have to face our perils alone. Happily, it’s not hard to access his help, it takes two things: prayer and faithfulness.  

Talking to God each day keeps us grounded, giving him a chance to remind us how much he loves us and that we’re not walking alone.

And by keeping the faith, we keep the focus on the ultimate prize.  

Being faithful to God’s plan is the path to resurrection and a full productive life.

Let’s trust in God’s promise and remember we don’t have to walk alone.

Reflection Questions: Have you felt the inclination to walk through challenges alone? Do you welcome companionship on that path? How do you experience God walking with you on a path toward resurrection and fullness of life?

Deacon Scott Haner of Louisville, Kentucky, ministers there at St. Patrick Parish. He has been a member of the ISP team (Mount St. Francis Center for Spirituality in Southern Indiana) since its inception. He has been dedicated to social ministry on nonprofit boards and engages in mission work in Appalachia, Central America, and Eastern Africa alongside his wife JoAnn. He has two grown daughters, who are married, and one grandson.