Tuesday, August 17, 2021

When we mistake God's sign

There are moments in the past that will always be replayed in my mind and while the last few months before Philip's passing was a blur to me, I remembered this scene very clearly. 

This was after Philip's brain surgery and the night before we realised that his abdomen was a little bloated and his testicles were a little swollen. It wasn't a good sign and that night we went to bed worried.

The next morning, I was getting ready to bring Philip to see the oncologist when Dan rushed home and showed me the reading of the day. He was very much filled with faith that Philip will be fine.  

I wasn't as sure as he was.. but I just went along with him because to me, even when I didn't have peace in my heart. 

This has been an internal struggle for Daniel for the first 10 months after Philip died... and since it is the first reading for today... I will share with you his reflection. :) 

The msg the Mister sent
me today
The First Reading today is a particularly difficult one for me as it brings back many memories. It’s a reading from the book of Judges. The story is how God called Gideon and what Gideon’s response was. In 2019 when Philip was very ill in hospital, I was very afraid that he would die and I remember asking God that fateful morning. Show me a sign that would tell me Philip’s fate. I was in the adoration room in the Church of the Holy Spirit, all alone and pleading with the Lord for a sign, just like Gideon did. 

The gist of the reading was “Do not be afraid, you will not die.” I cried as I took it to mean that Philip will not die then. 
As we all know, Philip passed away a couple of weeks later. I was shocked, horrified and indignant! Didn’t God give me a sign through the exact same reading 2 years ago? What happened to what He said to me? I was confused, angry, upset to say the least. That anger eventually led to indifference. If God’s will be done, why even seek my opinion? Why even bother to give me hope when there wasn’t to be any hope! Why lie to me? 
It took me a really long time and many struggles to come to the realisation that God’s plan will be done anyway, but we are called to “want” His plan for us. This calls for humility and obedience to His will. 
So it was with some trepidation that I re-read this morning’s First Reading. Gideon was called by the Lord to save His people Israel. But Gideon said that he was from the smallest tribe in Israel and the weakest member of his family. How could he even rise up against Israel’s enemies? It seemed so absurd and ridiculous! But God reassured him that He would go with Gideon and perform the works and power in Gideon’s behalf. Gideon of course didn’t believe and sought to ask for a sign (just like me). He made an offering of unleavened bread and lamb which the angel of the Lord caused to be burnt as a sign of the acceptance of Gideon’s offering to the Lord. Gideon then realised that he had seen the face of the angel of the Lord and in the Old Testament, anyone who sees the face of God or His angels will be struck down and die. But God reassured him that “Do not be afraid, you will not die!”
That perspective changed my thinking for now I know that God perhaps wants me to see His face and His will and go through His plan for me, but I need to trust Him and be obedient and docile to His plan for me, then I “will not die”. 
God always calls the weakest, the youngest, the one who in Man’s eyes are nothing, to be His instrument. He chose Moses, someone who couldn’t talk well; He chose David, the youngest and weakest child of Jesse. He chose Gideon and now He chooses you and me. Not to rely on our own strength and intellect but instead to put our own ego aside and just follow the promptings of the Spirit to do His will. 
God never calls the ready, He readies the called. We can come up with a million and one excuses not to do His will, but I ask you today to put aside your reason and human understanding, and just say “Yes” to Him today. “Not mine, but Thy Will be done”. You will be amazed by what will happen!