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So far, 2012 has been fraught with First World problems. Let me tell you what I mean. The year began with the ignominy of being ignored by servers in two separate restaurants. Everything I did seemed to go wrong: glasses spilled, recipes spoiled, appointments missed…just getting out of bed resulted in catastrophic bruising. “When is this year going to get better?” my husband and I railed. Like I said — First World problems.

To put things into perspective, try viewing the petty trials and tribulations of your life next to the very real suffering that occurs every day in Third World countries. Things like starvation, epidemic illness, government death squads. Makes the washing machine breaking down seem pretty darned insignificant, doesn’t it? Yet we do like to complain about our First World problems. We let them get us down. We let them set the tone.

It’s all very human of us. Just look at the Psalms. “O God, my God look upon me: why have you forsaken me?” cries Psalm 21. “All my enemies whispered against me…they determined against me an unjust word,” bemoans Psalm 40. Of course, the Israelites had bigger problems than 21st century Americans do, by a long shot. Still, the sentiment is the same: No one likes it when things go wrong.

It would be simplistic to say, “pray your troubles away,” yet it makes a salient point. Prayer begets patience, and patience is the only thing that’s needed to wait out our problems. Because things do get better…and worse…and better again. It’s all a part of God’s Providential plan. If we could just see the bigger picture, maybe those little inconveniences of life wouldn’t get us down.

Or maybe they still would. And that’s okay. Without First World problems, what would provide the prodding we require to stay in contact with God? As for me, I am greatly thankful that my troubles are of the First World variety. I am certain God knows that, weak as I am, I could hardly cope with more.

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Have a Mary Little Christmas

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