I want to follow up on my post today. While praying my rosary, the thought came to me (I won’t grant it the status of a temptation): why would God listen to my prayers? If He is God (ah! So it was a temptation!), why would He pay attention to me, and so on.
And the answer came quickly. God listens because He is God. So let God be God!
There is an interesting connection between this and the reading from Second Chronicles found in the Liturgy of the Hours this morning.
(The help God offered to the faithful King Jehoshaphat)
After this the Moabites and Ammonites, with some of the Melinites started to make war on Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat received the following intelligence, ‘A vast horde is advancing against you from Edom, from the other side of the sea; they are already at Hazazon-tamar, that is, En-gedi.’
Jehoshaphat was alarmed and resolved to have recourse to the Lord; he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; they came seeking the Lord from every single town in Judah.
At this assembly of the people of Judah and Jerusalem in the Temple of the Lord, Jehoshaphat stood before the new court and said, ‘O Lord, God of our ancestors, are you not the God who dwells in the heavens? Do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? Such power and might are in your hands that no one can resist you. Are you not our God, you who have dispossessed the inhabitants of this land for Israel your people, and given it to the descendants of Abraham whom you will love for ever? They have settled in it and built a sanctuary there for your name, saying, “Should calamity befall us, or war, punishment, pestilence, or famine, then we shall stand before this Temple and before you, for your name is in this Temple. From the depths of our distress we shall cry to you, and you will hear and save us.”’
All the men of Judah, even down to their youngest children and their wives, stood in the presence of the Lord. In the middle of the assembly the spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah the Levite, one of the sons of Asaph. ‘Listen all you men of Judah,’ he cried ‘and you who live in Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! The Lord says this to you, “Do not be afraid, do not be daunted by this vast horde; this battle is not yours but God’s. March out against them tomorrow; they are coming up by the Slope of Ziz and you will come on them in the Valley of Soph, near the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight there. Take up your position, stand firm, and see what salvation the Lord has in store for you. Judah and Jerusalem, be fearless, be dauntless; march out against them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you.”’
Jehoshaphat bent his head, his face to the ground, and all Judah with those who lived in Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshipping him. Then the Levites – Kohathites and Korahites – began praising the Lord the God of Israel at the tops of their voices.
They rose early in the morning and left for the wilderness of Tekoa. As they were setting out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen to me Judah and all who live in Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be secure; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.’ Then, having held a conference with the people, he set the cantors of the Lord in sacred vestments at the head of the army, to sing praises to him. ‘Give praise to the Lord,’ they sang ‘for his love is everlasting.’ As they began to sing their joy and their praise, the Lord laid an ambush for the Ammonites and Moab and the mountain folk of Seir who had come to attack Judah, and routed them. The Ammonites and Moabites turned on the mountain folk of Seir to inflict the ban on them and destroy them altogether, but they only helped each other to their own undoing.
When the men of Judah reached the spot that looks out on the wilderness and turned to face the horde, they found only corpses lying on the ground; no one had escaped (2 Chronicles 20:1-9,13-24). ©
Here is an encouraging passage from the Bible if there ever was one! God fights our battles when they are His because we are His. He loves and protects His own. Even more to the point is the reading from St. Paul found in morning prayer today:
“I willingly boast of my weakness, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I am content with weakness, with mistreatment, with distress, with persecution and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for when I am powerless, it is then that I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12: 9b-10).
That is, God appreciates not only our prayers but also our sufferings. He’ll take everything we can give Him! Why? Because that is what our God of love does. Of course, there are false gods preached, like the god of prosperity from televangelist Joel Osteen, who only wants us to live prosperously. “Don’t settle for surviving when you could be thriving.” Uh, really? What about the Scriptural texts that say God prefers the poor and humble rather than the rich and famous? The prosperity gospel fails because it would only half-fill the Ark.
I despise my pride, even though it is knit deep into my very DNA thanks to Original Sin. But if it keeps me running, always back to God, then I am thankful for that. It is a good and healthy kind of humility to decrease that God might increase. So I am quite happy to proclaim that I am small and my God is great! And when tempted by thoughts or doubts to the contrary, it is in my own best interest to step back…and Let God be God!