The Word Among Us

June 2006 Issue

When the Going Gets Tough, I Go to Jesus

How I Found New Strength through Eucharistic Adoration

By: Rhorie Halili Abalos

Just a few years ago, my life seemed perfect. I had a great job with excellent pay, an awesome family, a beautiful house, and loving and trusted friends. Then my husband's company offered him a position in Denver, Colorado.

It was an exceptional offer, a dream come true, yet I didn't want to move from Canada and leave behind my happy life in Toronto. I don't know how many times I said, "I'm not going." Then one day, I had a change of heart. As I reflected on the passage in my daily Bible reading, I realized that God was calling me to stand by my husband. And so began the most difficult, painful, and uncertain season that I have ever known—and, at the same time, the most peaceful, joyful, and rewarding.

Blow Upon Blow. Leaving Toronto meant saying a sorrowful good-bye to our son, who had won a scholarship to a local university. It seemed ironic. I had prayed hard for him to be accepted there, so that our family would not be separated. I had never thought that we would be the ones leaving him behind.

Other blows followed. A month after our departure, my mother-in-law, who lived in Toronto, died suddenly of a heart attack. We had been very close to my in-laws; we saw them often and sometimes did their grocery shopping and other errands. So as we grieved, my husband and I couldn't help wondering: "Would she have died if we hadn't moved?"

We worried over our two daughters, who were not adjusting to their new life. One of them was so unhappy that she wouldn't even unpack. "I don't care any more," she told me. At her old high school, she had been at the top of her class and was named athlete of the year. Now she could barely find reasons to get out of bed. Eventually, it became clear that she was suffering from depression and anxiety. Again, my husband and I blamed ourselves.

We tried various solutions, but nothing seemed to work. Finally, a year after our move, we made the painful decision to send both daughters back to Canada—back to the school, relationships, and environment where we hoped they would thrive again.

Six months later came the final blow. The company that my husband worked for underwent a reorganization, and he was informed that he was no longer needed. Just like that, his twenty-two-year employment was over.

Light in the Darkness. I don't know how I would have survived that year and a half if I had not also been discovering where to find peace, joy, and strength to face the challenges. It all began when a woman in our parish asked me to sign up for a regular hour of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

"What would I have to do?" I asked her.

"Oh, you just show up and spend time with the Lord," she said.

I thought I could handle that, but my first time around, the hour passed so slowly. It seemed like a whole day. I went back, mostly out of duty.

Within a month, though, my visits to the adoration chapel had become a pleasure. I was finding the Lord there—and experiencing so much peace and comfort that I started going every day. I even went in the middle of the night sometimes, if I woke up feeling anxious and tempted to give up. And once, when my husband and I were especially concerned about our daughter, we went to the chapel together and just cried before the Lord as we asked for guidance.

It was Jesus, present in the Blessed Sacrament, who kept drawing me to that chapel. There, through my tears, I surrendered all my pains and frustrations to him. There he freed me from the guilt that pressed in on me. There he gave strength for each new day, and confidence that no burden was impossible, because he was at my side.

In the silence of the adoration chapel, I heard the Lord's message loud and clear: When problems come into your life, it is not because God is forsaking or forgetting you. It is because he wants to share with you his most precious treasure, his cross.

I learned that the time to follow Jesus is when everything is difficult—in the face of apparent failure, in loneliness and sorrow, in times when your decisions are misunderstood and your motives questioned. I also learned that where there is sacrifice, there is love, and where there is love, the Lord is there. His blessing lies hidden in every cross.

Watching with Jesus. We moved back home to Canada after my husband lost his job, but our employment situation remains difficult. And so the joyful discovery I made in Denver continues to sustain me. Though I do not know what the future holds, my hour of Eucharistic adoration draws me closer to the Lord who holds our future in his hands. It increases my trust and confidence in him. This quiet time with Jesus has become a sort of armor, equipping me for whatever struggles come my way. When the going gets tough, I keep going to Jesus.

Now I long for others to discover for themselves the joy and privilege of spending time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Think of it—a date with God, and everyone is invited!

We work so many other commitments into our schedules. We hurry every morning to be on time for work. We keep our medical and dental appointments. We are always on time for movies and favorite TV shows. Well, why not set a time to keep watch with Jesus for an hour, as he invites us to do (see Mark 14:37)? His invitation is open—he awaits us any hour, any day, in both good times and bad.

Do you have a loving wife or husband? Are you and your family healthy? Do you have a job? Do you have a house? Do you have friends? Have you been successful in life? If your answer is yes, go and thank the Lord for his blessings!

Are you having marital problems? Is a child or other family member sick? Are you looking for a job that never seems to come? Are you depressed? Are you a sinner in need of repentance? Are you hurting from a pain that is hard to forgive? Do you need to ask someone's forgiveness for the pain you have caused? Yes? Then go to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, because only he can meet your needs.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your loving presence with your people! May you be praised, loved, and adored throughout the world, hour after hour, until the end of time.

Rhorie Abalos heads the Eucharistic Adoration group at Merciful Redeemer Parish, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. She and her husband have three children.