It is not for us to decide when we will be most useful to God – it is our responsibility to be ready. Saint Paul says, “Bear your share of hardship along with me like a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3). The Soldier of Christ stays at his post and remains obedient to the present task at hand. And Saint Paul adds,
be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient… (2 Timothy 4:2)
It is not for us to recognize the time of our usefulness, but to just keep showing up.
Showing up…with a kind word or friendly smile.
Showing up…to lend a hand to someone in need.
Showing up…to listen with the intent of really hearing what that person is communicating.
Showing up…each day in silent prayer with our God.
Showing up…for daily, routine, unglamorous faithfulness in our homes and at our jobs.
As Saint Thérèse of Lisieux shows us, it is in the path of simple, daily, hourly showing up that God uses His people in ways far beyond anything we might imagine. We do not know how God is going to use our most common, seemingly insignificant steps to love Him and bless others. I am certain that St. Therese had no idea that her “little way” – of trusting in Jesus to make her holy and relying on small daily sacrifices, instead of great deeds – would have such a huge impact in guiding others to find holiness in their daily lives.
Satan doesn’t care what we do for God, as long as we do it tomorrow. And one of his most deceptive strategies is to get us focusing on our usefulness in the future so as to distract us from our usefulness in the now.