You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
Yes, I know that Prayer should be a two way conversation between God and me but how many of us simply rattle off the required prayers and then get on with our daily lives? How many of us actually take time to listen to what God has to say to us?
“Take time to listen? Have you seen my schedule for today? I have meetings all day and I have to pick up my mother from the airport this evening and you know what the traffic is like around there at that time; plus I have a stack of unread emails in my Mailbox and the Fischer report was due in on Friday and Bateman has been screaming for it every five seconds. I have no idea when I shall get to the gym! And you want me to make time to listen to God? Well, I am sorry I don’t have time right now!”
But is that the truth? After all, we can always find excuses for putting off things we don’t want to do. Perhaps the real reason we don’t make time to listen to God is that we are afraid of what He might tell us if we did. The disciples listened to Him and followed His commands and they had a pretty rough time of it and even today Christians are being persecuted for their beliefs all over the world. It is safer to keep our heads down, to recite the prayers, attend Church on Sunday if convenient – yes, I know there is so much to do on Sundays – and go to Mass when possible; the trouble is the service starts so early. It is certainly easier to take that safe option but is that really what God wants for us?
Fear and especially fear of the unknown is a powerful emotion but in these circumstances is it justified? I remember the first Psalm I ever learned to recite: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want...” Psalm 23. Or listen to the words He spoke to Moses: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."Deut 31.6. So, what are we afraid of then? Is it that He will give us a task that we cannot do? Now we are getting to the point! After all, we may feel that we cannot go and stand on the street corner proclaiming God’s Word as John Wesley did. We cannot write stirring Epistles as St. Paul did. We cannot heal the sick or.... Well what can we do really? The Disciples felt like that after Christ’s death but they went out and did God’s Will anyway. And how were they able to do that? They were able to do the work God had asked them to do because the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost; because God was with them, just as He had promised to be with Moses and the Israelites all those years before. And let us remember that the Holy Spirit is with each of us, in just the same way. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
So why don’t we just stop putting obstacles in the way and put our trust in God.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years