The Word Pronounced
Today’s readings deal with two kinds of fear. The first is the fear that the prophet asserts the people of Israel should have because of their transgressions against the law of God. After all that their God has done for them, the people have not returned to Him but have gone their own way. God responds, “so now I will deal with you in my own way, O Israel! And since I deal thus with you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel.” (Am 4:11-12). One is reminded of the line from The Messiah, “Who will endure the day of His coming?”
My Soul Trusts in His Word
The second kind of fear is rooted in lack of faith and trust in God. I recall having conversations with some of my sisters about the fact that our little cat has no idea that we are operating for her welfare when we take her to the vet or when we packed her up to bring her with us to a new home. She only knows that she wants to run and hide when the carrier comes out. Showing surprising strength, she braces her feet against the opening of the carrier, hoping to avoid being eased inside.
I was reminded of this recently when another sister and I had to catch some of our ducks (no easy feat) in order to treat foot injuries. They, of course, did not understand why we were trying to herd them into a corner and so tried to flee, with much squawking and flapping of wings as they tumbled over each other. Eventually, we caught the ones we needed, and the rest of the flock showed its disapproval by staying for several days as far away as it could on the other side of the pond.
What Sort of Man is This?
We are not animals or birds and have more at our disposal than instinct or the raw impulse for “flight or fight.” We can choose to trust, even when it feels like everything around us is swamped and we are perishing. How often, when faced with adversity, do we thrash about, succumbing to anxiety and fear? We don’t remember to say “Jesus, I trust in you,” or even “Lord, save us!” Animals can trust, too, but the level of their trust is related to things outside themselves, such as how we treat them. We can respond from inside, from the faith that is a gift of our relationship with God. Pray for the ability to do this so that the Lord will not have occasion to rebuke us for our lack of faith nor have us face the consequences of a failure to turn to Him.