Do you have people in your life that just seem to irritate you on a regular basis? I have; in fact, it has occurred many, many times in my life. I have prayed: “Oh Lord, please remove this person from my life; send them someplace else!” If that person moved on (or if I moved on), one or two just like them would replace them. After repeating this scenario over and over again, I began to see the pattern. Could it be that these irritating people had a purpose in my life and, perhaps, I had the same purpose in their lives?
Seems like I was always wanting someone who would think like me and do everything the way I liked it done. God had other ideas and it was for my good, but I usually couldn’t see it that way. This story from The Prologue of Ochrid (February 24th) has been a great help to me and I hope it will be to you as well:
“Those who do everything for us according to our will are neither our good teachers nor our good friends. St. John Moschus writes about a prominent woman of a senatorial family who visited the Holy Land. Arriving in Caesarea, she decided to remain there and turned to the bishop with this request: “Give me a maiden to teach me the fear of God.” The bishop introduced her to a humble virgin. After a period of time, the bishop met that woman and asked her: “How is the virgin to whom I introduced you?” “She is good,” replied the woman, “but she is of little benefit to my soul, because she is humble and allows me to do my own will. I need her to reproach me and not allow me to do whatever I want.” The bishop then gave her another girl, of a very coarse character, who began to rebuke the woman, calling her a senseless rich woman and the like. After some time, the bishop again asked the woman: “And that maiden, how does she conduct herself with you?” “She truly benefits my soul,” replied the senator’s wife. And so she became very meek.” (Excerpted from The Spiritual Meadow by St. John Moschus.)
Lord, please help me to learn and grow from every person that comes into my life. And help me to love them as you love them!