It is I. Do not be afraid.
There’s an old trope, ‘The devil’s in the details’, that I’ve been ruminating over a lot this last week. Working out the fine print for any life decision is always daunting — sometimes enough to put you off even pursuing it. Everyone wants the dream. No one actually wants to do the work or make the life changes that bring it to reality. But all endeavours begin with a single idea that is followed through by someone unafraid of facing up to the ‘Devil’, be it self-doubt, fear of failure, risk aversion or just plain laziness.
In today’s first reading from Acts, the Apostles realized that they needed a better organizational structure if their faith community was to be a success. It was likely a difficult conversation for them to have. There were many cultures’ politics to consider. Everyone had their own agenda. Christ’s Church was still nascent, and a false step could have doomed them, despite their early success. Resource allocation to any endeavor somehow makes the endeavor more ‘real’. There will be that moment when you realize there’s no turning back. You’re either wholly committed here, or you need to walk away. ‘Go big or go home’, so the saying goes. I’m in that difficult spot right now. And today’s readings give me comfort that not only is God in the details, He’s also in the big picture. In the Gospel reading from John, the apostles see Jesus, in the midst of the storm, walking calmly towards them on the rough waters – “It is I. Do not be afraid”. Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid.
All my life, trust has been a huge issue – trust in God, trust in myself, trust in my family, my friends. It makes for a lonely life when you hold everyone and everything at an arm’s length because you’re afraid of failure and disappointment. So many times, I’ve doubted myself about taking the road less traveled, chickened out from taking risks or letting people in my life, always with the excuse that “I have too many responsibilities, I don’t have time for all this, I can’t be taking these risks”. In the beginning that was true, and it was easy to hide behind that convenience. Now, that is no longer the case, but I’m still hiding because it’s comfortable. But maybe it’s time to be brave for a change, to be the “man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”. (Theodore Roosevelt, 1910).
Do not be afraid.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)
Prayer: We pray for God’s providence, His guidance and wisdom on all of life’s decisions. We pray for courage and discernment, to take the road that He would want for us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the Holy Spirit’s inspiration in our lives. We pray for that we are not so lost in our own thoughts and motivations that we miss the Spirit’s gentle promptings.