Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A testimony to God's saving grace...

(Written down more than 4 years back, but posting now…)

Thursday, March 17, 2005, 6:45AM
This happened a few weeks back:

Went to bed on the Thursday night, after having decided to go for the 8am mass the next morning, which was 1st Friday.
I didn’t have a restful night, because Daniel was up many times due to a cold. So I felt lazy and tired as I woke up in the morning.

These are the series of thoughts that raced through my mind as I was lying in bed:
• Should I go to church now? I didn’t sleep well and I feel tired. Need I?
• It’s not a day of obligation ……
• What’s so special about Fridays anyways?
• And first Fridays – what’s so special about that?
• First Friday mass, adorations, etc – it’s all just a hype.

The very instant that the word ‘hype’ entered my mind, I knew it had come from satan. There is no other way that such an infrequently used word in my normal vocabulary (especially in regard to religious matters) should enter my mind – no doubt, I realized – satan had put it in there. Still feeling shocked at the thought that satan had almost got me, I jumped out of bed, headed straight for the bathroom, and in no time, I was ready for church.

For many days from then, this incident has been coming to me as a flashback – like the kind of flashback that plays in your mind when you have a narrow escape from an accident…

Today, I woke up at about 6, and came with Daniel to the living room to pray. The above incident again flashed back in my mind…

To think that Satan almost got me makes me shudder… What if I did not recognize satan’s voice and had given in? He would have really got me. I know that not going to church on a first Friday is not a sin – I myself am not able to go on all First Fridays – But having made the decision to go, and then changing my mind after giving in to satan’s excuses/justifications/lies – that very thought scares me still.. I feel that God really pulled me out of bed and got me ready – if I had just lay there, pondering over the thoughts and those justifications, I would have fallen. I really felt God’s saving hands literally pulling me out of bed and saving me from the clutches of the devil. This was a real encounter with ‘the evil one’, and I am very aware of satan’s presence now – and ever more aware of God’s saving grace…

I felt a strong inspiration to pray the ‘Our Father’…

When I came to the part ‘Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’ , I found myself praying with all earnestness, like I’ve never ever prayed before – fully aware of my helplessness – fully aware of my need for God’s mercy…Fully aware that my God is a merciful, loving and saving God.

Here are the thoughts to which the Spirit led me….:

Satan acts in subtle ways which might seem very logical to us - and not in obvious ways that are easy for us to make out… So we need to pray earnestly – Lord, lead us not to temptation, but deliver us from evil.

I meditated on Jesus praying at Gethsamene. Jesus told his disciples ‘Keep watch and pray that you may not fall into temptation’. Another translation says ‘Get up and pray that you may not fall into temptation’.

Jesus wants us to keep watch/get up in both spiritual as well as physical sense. Spiritually, he tells us ‘keep watch - be constantly aware of the tempter’. In the physical sense, he tells us to watch out when our bodies are sleepy and idle and weak. There are times in the morning when we are really awake, but feel like lying down some more – those are the times that idle thoughts crowd into our minds. That is a dangerous time. That’s a time which satan can easily use to get us – to tempt us to do things against God’s will; to tempt us to refrain from doing the good things that we planned to do…

The story of the Gingerbread boy (an old folk tale) came to my mind…:

There was once an old man and woman who did not have any children. One day the woman said ‘I will make myself a gingerbread boy’. She makes gingerbread shaped like a boy and puts it in the oven. When she opens the oven door to see if it was baked, the gingerbread boy runs out the oven door and out of the house. The man and the woman run after him but the boy runs faster, saying ‘Run, run, run, as fast as you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread boy’. The boy meets a cow, a horse, a pig, and some farmers along the way, and each of them shouts at him ‘Stop! I want to eat you!’. The boy manages to run away from each of them, saying ‘Run, run, run, as fast as you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread boy’. The boy reaches a river which he has to cross to get away from them all, but he has to stop because he can’t get himself in the water. Then a fox comes by, and says ‘I’ll help you’. The fox asks the gingerbread boy to hop onto his back, and says he will take him across the river. The boy hops on. The fox starts walking with the boy on his back. As the water gets deeper, the fox asks the boy to hop onto his shoulder so he wouldn’t get wet, and then after a while, onto his head, and then finally his nose. Then, with a toss of his head, the fox gulps down the gingerbread boy.

Isn’t this really how the devil takes us for a ride? We may do a good job running away from the things that are obviously wrong. But the real wicked one awaits us with his most cunning, seemingly innocent plots. Much like the gingerbread boy, don’t we also, at times, run away from the loving God who made us? And when we are confronted with troubles and feel helpless, satan appears from nowhere and offers help. He puts forth action plans for us that are against the will of God and fills our minds with logical reasonings that justify his plans. He entices us to hop on for a cool and comfy piggyback ride – how scary!

It’s only our God’s grace that will enable us to break away from his bondage. It’s only God’s grace that will give us the wisdom to choose what is right. Let’s ask our merciful God to be our stronghold in times of trouble, and to set us free from the wickedness and snares of the devil…

When we lie down idle, our minds sometimes get crowded with negative thoughts and reasonings. These may lead us not just to do things that are bad or wrong, but may also pull us back from the good that we plan to do.

Some of the thoughts that satan frequently uses to get us:
- it is ok to talk ill of a person if the person doesn’t hear it…
- it is ok to not say the truth if it doesn’t hurt anyone…
- if everybody does it, it should be ok to do…

We need to force ourselves out of such thoughts. Cut it off. ‘Run run run as fast as you can’. But instead of saying ‘you cant catch me, I’m the gingerbread boy’, let’s not trust in ourselves, but in Divine Providence, in Divine mercy. Let’s say ’Run run run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, for I belong to God’

I thought again about how, by God’s mercy, I was saved from the devil’s clutches. How God kept me from the evil one. In John 17, Jesus prays for his disciples - He prays to the Father ‘Keep them from the evil one’. I realized that Jesus prayed this prayer for me – He asked the Father to keep me from the evil one, and behold! I was kept from the evil one!

Praise God!


Thomson Mathew said...

Lucy Sis,

Easily one of the best article I have read in this blog.

I think its worth the 4 years wait.Your every word made sense to me since the struggles I face are the same day in and day out :)

Without His grace & mercy everything is so uncool in my/our life.


jessy said...

I don't know you,
But every word made perfect sense!

For everygrace I made good use of,He gave me many more... st Theresa of Child Jesus