Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Despite Our Wayward Ways, God's Love is Steadfast -- Always.

It wasn't until the year 2020 that I became a Catholic. For 43 years prior to that, I was a Baptist. I was baptized in 1977 at the age of 12 at a Baptist church in Alaska. On June 28, 2020 I was blessed through the Rite of Christian Initiation to come into Full Communion with The Roman Catholic Church. Significant preparation and study were a part of that spiritual journey. My lovely wife, Kelley, has been a Catholic since the cradle and I have attended the Catholic church with her for many years. We attend Mass weekly and I'm blessed to be leading junior high faith formation (Sunday school).

For the past five years, I've written about a variety of topics in this blog. Most of those writings have not had anything to do with my faith. That is now going to change. If I'm going to post writings to this blog, those writings are going to be connected to my Catholic faith. I've spent a lot of time in prayer over the past year and have realized that I seem to give more credit to myself for the successes in my life than to the One from whom those successes actually flow. God is the One who has moved me from a life raft bobbing up and down in wayward seas to a steady ship that is guided by His wind and will. It is to Him that I give all gratitude, glory, honor and praise.

For those who have frequented my writings since I first began to post online in 2005, you will now see a change in tone... a change in focus. My writings will not be as frequent, but will be connected to my Catholic faith. If you've felt that your life has been like a cork bobbing up and down on uncontrollable seas, this blog may help -- in some small way -- to set your sights on the horizon and on what God can do when you give your life to Him. Others may criticize or judge you, but keep in mind that it is not to others that you must ultimately answer when you cross life's finish line.

Through God's plan for my athletic life, I've been blessed to run solo across the United States, Germany, Alaska, Montana, and the Mojave Desert. However, as Psalm 147:10-11 tells us: "He takes... no pleasure in the runner’s stride. Rather the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, those who put their hope in His mercy." God doesn't take pleasure in what I can accomplish with my legs. He wants me to fear him -- which means to have reverence for Him -- and to put my hope in Him. That's what God truly wants from me, and from all of us. Through my athletic career, the miles I've conquered add up to be nearly two laps of planet earth -- about 50,000 miles. Sadly, my past track record shows that I've given myself far more credit for those miles than I've given to God. As a Christian, that was wrong.

For countless years I actually lived the words of Romans 5:3 ("suffering produces endurance"). Then, my life seemed to be focused on the initial words of Romans 5:4 ("endurance produces character"). These days, the tide has turned and God has blessed my life with calm seas, easier sailing, and blessings that I never imagined on those days long ago when I wondered what was beyond the horizon for me. Now, my life is more focused on the second part of Romans 5:4 -- "character produces hope." God is indeed good... all the time.

From Him, Through Him, For Him (Romans 11:36),

Paul J. Staso

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