The Fight For SalvationDan Doyle
Ok, this is a hard one for us. What do you mean, “stand still.” Yes, we believe that you fight for us, Lord, but it is not easy to stand still when we are being troubled from all sides. What do you mean by this? Really, if we are honest with ourselves, what is hardest about this verse is not the idea of “standing still,” but the part about “the Lord will fight for you.” Do we really believe that? Or do we teeter on the precipice of doubt? That is our struggle, is it not? This is one of those challenges of faith that are hard to understand and to really believe without question, without the troubling tickle of doubt in the back of our minds. Indeed, in the midst of our trials, do we not hear ourselves saying, “Where are you, Lord?
Faith is a gift, of this there is no doubt. A gift, though, can not be received if one is not open to it. This is where we must start to answer this question of doubt. Are we truly open to the gift of faith that God wants to give us freely and abundantly? What prevents us from being open? Jesus tells us that, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20) Faith as small as a mustard seed! This, we know, is the truth. With even a little faith, nothing is impossible. But how do we make ourselves open to this mustard seed of faith?
The life of a Christian needs to be rooted in faith or he or she will be crushed by the wild weight of the world. We are given the impetus of faith in our baptisms. God continually offers us graces in many forms every day. We may not realize this because we are too often caught up in the whirlwinds and noise of this world. The fact is that God has been fighting for us from the moment our First Parents fell from his grace in the Garden. He has never abandoned us. Though we turn away from him, he patiently awaits that time when we suddenly realize the errors of our ways and turn back to him, and he takes up our defense again, and again, and again. But, like the Jews of both Moses’ and Jesus’ times, we too often demand big, unmistakable miracles as proof of God’s presence and love. As we have heard, though, “God works in mysterious ways.” Remember. It was the prophet Elijah who was told to, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then he heard and saw a great and powerful wind tear up the mountains, then a great earthquake, then a great fire, but the Lord was not in these great things. Rather, Elijah realized the passing of the Lord in a “gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:11-13) Are we making the same mistake, looking for big, spectacular miracles, and missing the passing of the Lord in the small, gentle whispers that come into our lives every day?
In order to know that the Lord is with us and fighting for us every day, we must learn to “be still.” We do this by developing a daily habit of prayer. If we make a habit of starting and ending our days in prayer, we will find that the rest of our days will become living prayers. It is in this deepening personal relationship with God that we will discover how faithful he is to us in our every need. He is with us! He is fighting for us, and always will be. In turn, he wants us to fight too, for ourselves and for one another. We must fight for the salvation of our souls and those of others. We must fight against the injustices of this world when we see them. When we do, God will be with us, fighting for us. The Spirit will speak for us when we are put on trial by the world. It will be our faith and God’s grace that will make all things possible for us.
Lord, give us the grace to be still enough to hear your gentle whisper in our hearts and minds throughout our days. Help us to deepen our relationship with you through an ever more habitual practice of prayer. We ask this in your name, Jesus. Amen!
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