As I prayed about what to write this month, a line from one of my daily devotions jumped out and stuck in my mind. “There is a time, too, for recognizing that our heads can never grasp the truths of God, and that our purpose in prayer is not to defend or condemn ourselves or to come up with any kind of analysis or sermon, but simply to respond, from our inmost depths, to what God is sharing with us of Himself.” (Inner Compass by Margaret Silf)
How often do I start to formulate my response or defense before the person I am talking to has even finished? How often do my children do the same to me? How do I feel when that happens? They don’t even know completely why I’m upset or what I want them to do before they start to tell me why they did what they did or said and how it is really the fault of someone else. How often do I do the same to God? Well, I would have followed Your will, Father, but so-and-so didn’t do his or her part or didn’t You see what happened in the meantime? And well….
In Sunday’s first reading, Elijah is done. He is praying for God to please just let him die. He felt beaten down, defeated. However, God wasn’t finished with him yet and woke him up, made him eat, and told him to get on his way. Elijah listened and walked for forty days. Eventually, he made it to Mount Horeb, where God revealed the next part of His plan for Elijah.
How different would history have played out if Elijah had argued with the angel?
In the gospel, Jesus says He is the Bread of Life. His neighbors argue with Him because they believe they know Him; they know where He is from and who His parents are. They believe in the hierarchy of their culture, and Jesus is nothing more than the carpenter’s son. They believe they are in charge. Because they are not willing or able to stop their response and listen to Jesus, they miss out on His call to eternal life.
For the past month, I have been slowed down by having my foot in an aircast. You can read about the beginning of this journey here. I have come to realize that this injury has been a blessing in many ways; Divine Intervention to force our family to slow down and take time together. It also has shown me how much I miss when I rush through my morning devotion time, how much God is saying to me when I actually take the time to listen.
What am I missing when I get ahead of a conversation, both with friends and family and in prayer with God? What does God have to say when I simply stop and listen and follow without formulating a response or a defense?
“Be still and know that I am God!” Psalm 46:11