"I am the LORD, your God, who grasp your right hand;
It is I who say to you, "Fear not, I will help you."
and Dogs at the Door
many of us live under the pall of fear!
It is very real to us.
It influences many of our decisions, infects our judgments,
and motivates a great deal of what we do in our daily lives.
It is often a driving force, not necessarily overwhelming, but
most often subtle, and for its subtlety more sinister. It stands,
as it were, a demon lurking at the door, and we are trying to
place our foot against it lest the door open and it spring upon
us. We offer it pagan sacrifices to appease it, placate it,
keep it at bay: our will (what we choose to do, but
much more often what we choose not
to do), our happiness, our peace of mind,
our freedom (from worry, anxiety) — for somehow we
have come to believe that unless we offer these sacrifices,
the demon, fear, will have its way with us and we will be in
the terrible straits that it threatens. We do worse. We convince
ourselves that our having made such pagan offerings to the demon
fear has alone warded off these great evils, averted the impending
catastrophes that are held, like vicious hounds from hell by
but the merest thread.
It has succeeded! We have made our offerings and we have been
given a reprieve — for a time. Good thing we worried! Good thing
we bit our nails, lost sleep, even a portion of our sanity —
imagine what would have happened had we not feared?
Good thing we lived in misery — before it befell us!
We are such fools! We do not look at w hat
has NOT happened and realize that
our fears, our worries, were groundless, needless. No ... we
still offer our sacrifices to the dogs at the door, and say
to ourselves, "our fears were real!
Such and such could have
could have died in your sleep last night.
The world could have ended yesterday.
The litany is endless of all that could
have happened — and did not. Shall we fear all
that could happen — and will not;
or would we do better to hope for
what could happen, for the great good
you desire (and not the evil that you fear), that it will come
upon you any minute! That your deliverance is at hand! (and
not your bondage!). That good awaits you!
by ... Co-opting it?
Why? Not because
it is more sane, more rational, more reasonable (given the years
you've spent in misery — attempting to avoid that very misery
... that never happened) — all these things are good
and compelling reasons (far better and more compelling than
the pretense of a dog at the door). The real reason is given
in today's reading from Isaiah:
"I am the LORD,
your God, who grasp your right hand; It is I who say to
you, "Fear not, I will help you."
The dog at the
door, that lurking demon of fear that would rob you of all happiness
and hope, is a fiction. God is not.
What does He tell you?
"Fear not! I will
God is saying that to you.
God! He is no liar like that demon at
the door (which flees from His Presence!).
He comes with good tidings!
He comes with absolute assurance,
"I — I, God
— will help you!"
Instead of putting your hand in from of your face before the
menacing phantom and fiction at the door (which never came and
never will), do what God tells you: Take His Hand!
the LORD, your God, who grasp your right hand"
But you — you must first reach out to take
You were quick enough to take the leash of the dogs that drove
you to misery. And they were all of your own making.
Stop pretending to be a creator! All you create are fears and
worries and anxieties — each one of them equally useless.
The real Creator is reaching out His
Hand to you — and given the fact that what He creates is good,
your chances of obtaining the good, the desire of your
heart, are far more real, than your chances ever were of having
that grand piano drop on your head — you know, the one that
you have barely kept suspended over you by your senseless fears
for so, so, so, long!
You will one day come to realize that it never would have fallen
.... because it was never there.
But God is.
Boston Catholic Journal
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