|Joan Wester Anderson|
By Joan Wester Anderson
Sometimes hard times occur through no fault of our own but are just a result of living in an imperfect world. God does not send suffering to his children, but as C. S. Lewis once noted, 'pain is God's megaphone.' It gets our attention. When these periods come, our job is simply to endure, getting through them the best we can.
People who are attempting to move closer to God will often find obstacles in their paths. There is a saying that if you're not doing anything for the kingdom, Satan leaves you alone. But if you're becoming an effective soldier, you find yourself under attack. A members of my Wednesday night prayer group often jokes that if the weather is bad, the car breaks down, or a headache develops, it will happen on a Wednesday, giving us an excuse to stay away from our two-hour prayer time and the graces and spiritual insights that might have resulted. But the Bible confirms our observation: "When you come to serve the Lord," says the book of Sirach (2:1), "prepare yourself for trials." The solution here is to persevere. Relief will come.
Suffering happens, too, as a result of sin, freely chosen. Should we be surprised when children brought up on a steady diet of immoral movies and television programs act out what they see? Should we be surprised when people dabble in the occult, settle problems through violence, abandon their responsibilities? One emergency room physician told me his personal theory: "if people simply lived by the Ten Commandments, we would have no health-care crisis in our country, because hospitals would not need to treat those suffering from gunshot wounds, victims of spouse or child abuse, those suffering from sexually transmitted diseases or drug overdoses, and so on." Instead, hospitals could use their resources primarily for those ill with diseases.
As God continues to try to get our attention, what lies ahead? Few people believe that the current era heralds the end of the world or the Second Coming; Jesus told us no one would know the day or the hour this would occur. But will there be a repeat of what happened when the Fatima prophecies in 1917 went unheeded? Or are we heading toward some sort of worldwide moment of truth or chastisement, when God's people may have to summon the courage to take a stand and get involved in society as never before?
Perhaps. But it's possible that there are more wondrous events ahead too. One pastor had a vision in which he saw himself in a crowded football stadium. Suddenly the Holy Spirit was beside each person in the stadium. Instantly everything stopped, because God was showing every person just where he or she stood on the pathway of life and eternity.
"They will be my witnesses...to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8
Author and lecturer Joan Wester Anderson was born in Evanston, Illinois. She began her writing career in 1973 with a series of family humor articles for local newspapers and Catholic publications, and was a monthly columnist for two national magazines during the 1980s. She has published more than one thousand articles and short stories in a variety of publications, including Woman’s Day, Modern Bride, Virtue, Reader’s Digest, and the New York Times Syndicate.
Her 15 books include WHERE ANGELS WALK, TRUE STORIES OF HEAVENLY VISITORS, which was on the New York Times best-seller list for over a year, has sold almost two million copies and been translated into fourteen languages. Published in fall, 1994, were the sequel to ANGELS, titled WHERE MIRACLES HAPPEN, and for children, AN ANGEL TO WATCH OVER ME. Both books were written in response to suggestions from readers, and were followed in rapid succession by three more in this series. FOREVER YOUNG (Thomas More Publishers), the life story of actress Loretta Young, was published in November, 2000. The actress had read the angel series, and requested Anderson as her biographer. The two became close friends. Anderson’s book, IN THE ARMS OF ANGELS (Loyola Press) covers angelic activity primarily during the past decade, including stories of hope from the 9/11 and Columbine School tragedies. Her most recent books, GUARDIAN ANGELS (Loyola Press), ANGELS AND WONDERS (Loyola Press) and ANGELIC TAILS, focus on amazing and tender stories of God’s answers to prayers.
Anderson has appeared on national television programs including “Good Morning America,” “Oprah,” “20/20,” “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw” and “Mother Angelica Live,” and was featured in such documentaries as “Angels–Beyond the Light” (NBC), “Angel Stories” and “Stories of Miracles” (The Learning Channel), and many videos. She was a story consultant for the television series, IT’S A MIRACLE, lectures in cities across the country, and has been interviewed on hundreds of radio talk shows.
Anderson is a Catholic and member of St. Edna’s Parish in Arlington Heights IL., a graduate of Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and a former adjunct professor at Harper Community College in Palatine, Illinois. She and her husband live in suburban Chicago, and have five grown children and five grandchildren.
Copyright 2014 Joan Wester Anderson