The Need to Hear Jesus, and Not Just the Experts
Devotional Thought fo the Day:
“Who are you to put God to the test today, setting yourselves in the place of God in human affairs?*g 13 And now it is the Lord Almighty you are putting to the test, but you will never understand anything! 14 You cannot plumb the depths of the human heart or grasp the workings of the human mind; how then can you fathom God, who has made all these things, or discern his mind, or understand his plan?” Judith 8:12-14 NABRE (2)
31 O Jesus…, strengthen our souls, open out the way for us, and, above all, intoxicate us with your Love! Make us into blazing fires to kindle the earth with the heavenly fire you brought us. (2)
As I’ve worked with people who are suffering, I’ve heard a lot of people offer “expert” advice to them about why God caused/is allowing/is fine with the suffering they are enduring.
It is almost as if the friends of Job (where they really?) have been re=incarnated!
Some promise that God wouldn’t allow the people He loves to suffer, or that if they do this, they will be fine. They will use the often misquoted passage about God not allowing you to bear anything you can’t handle… (sometimes with a disclaimer)
We love to speak for God, but the question needs to be asked – were we lsitenign to him when we spoke?
In the case of the text from Judith, the leaders hadn’t. They were, as so often happens, using their own reason, their own logic, to solve a situation. They didn’t consult God, they had forgotten His promises, they treated His word as if it was, supplemental to the gifts He ahd given them, when He entrsuted them with the leadership of God’s people.
And like us, they failed.
There is a level of humility we as leaders need in the church. The humility that drives us, not from obligation, but from realizing our need to be with jesus, to hear His voice, to find the hope that comes, as we conciously dwell in His presence.
Judith noted this, her words to the leaders of her people to her. They came, and as she convicted them, she also encouraged them to model the faith in God that they had inherited from their ancestors. And she herself mourned, grieved, prayed (even to the extent of laying fully prostrate – a symbol of complete submission)
And she did what was incredibly distasteful, horrid, and sacrificed her own peace.
Not exactly a Christ figure (still working through the God using all things, including Judith’s deception for good.. i.e. Genesis 50:20.. issue in this one) but there are elements of her work, of her humility, that need to be noted. She sought God’s face, and
The kind of humility, the kind of submission and sacrifice that only comes when a heart is on fire for God. When a heart and soul has found its only answer is in the promises God made us, the promises that He will be the refuge and shield of His people.
Hear these words of her prayer,
“You are God of the lowly, helper of those of little account, supporter of the weak, protector of those in despair, savior of those without hope.”
She is right about that. As is St Josemaria with his prayer, asking God to overwhelm us, humbling us, strengthening our souls, encouraging us to reflect his light to the gentiles and give hope to His people Israel. It is this adoration of the God who would hang on the cross that is our salvation, for in Him we have life. Our people need our help to explore the dimensions of His love, even in the midst of suffering.
May we guide people into their rest and healing found in Christ, rather than prognosticate and pontificate about their situation.
Lord have mercy…
(1) Judith is one of the books from the deuterocanonical books of scripture (i.e. the second canon ) It was included in old Bibles, and would have been considered part of scripture by the early church reformers. It is not found in most modern Bibles published by protestants. (Although it exists in translations like the ESV, the RSV, etc) Lutherans and Anglicans vacillate on it, considering it anywhere from being like a book by a church father, to being a lesser part of scripture, to being part of the canon. As the translation I am using for daily devotions this year (NAB-RE ) includes it, so I am re-introduced to it. I found this quote particularly poignant, given issues with leadership in the church and outside it today.
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 348-349). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on March 15, 2016, in Augsburg and Trent, Devotions, st josemaria escriva, The Forge and tagged adoration of Jesus, Apologists, Eperts, Ministry, Pastoral Care, pastors, reflecting Christ Jesus., The Book of Judith, Theologians. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.