Posted by: L. E. Barnes | February 5, 2011

Sabbath Moments

Each Saturday, Colleen Spiro hosts Sabbath Moments at her blog, Thoughts on Grace. Join us and read about and share special moments from the week.

This week my parents and I watched a film adaptation–released in 1979 and featuring Liam Neeson in his first movie role–of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. I’d recommend it, especially for kids as a way of introducing them to Bunyan’s famous book.

Last night we spent some time reading and reflecting on some scripture passages, and my mother read from a message by New York preacher/evangelist David Wilkerson. Though he isn’t Catholic, his message would benefit any Christian, as it emphasized God’s love and provision for us even when things seem bleak. He posed the question, “Are you accusing God of child neglect?” That is, are you doubting His love for you and that He will provide your needs? Do you truly believe He’s a loving father, or do you think he’s stopped caring? In fact, it was exactly what I needed to hear, as I’ve been struggling with fears and doubts lately because of some problems that have plagued me for some time now. I read some passages from the book of Jeremiah, in which the prophet vents frustrations at God, even calling Him a “treacherous brook”–i.e., that God seems like a brook whose waters dry up when you need them. At one point Jeremiah complains, “You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumphed. All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me.” He feels so frustrated that he decides to stop prophesying, since it has brought him nothing but trouble. However, Jeremiah finds he can’t stay silent: “I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more. But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.” 

But God reaffirms that He is not blind to what Jeremiah is going through: “Though they fight against you, they shall not prevail, For I am with you, to deliver and rescue you, says the LORD. I will free you from the hand of the wicked, and rescue you from the grasp of the violent.” And Jeremiah, while still wrestling with frustrations, nonetheless declares, “Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD, For he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!” 

We probably all feel like Jeremiah did at times. We wonder where God is in the midst of our problems, yet He is never guilty of child neglect. He knows what we’re going through and will see us through it all. So it was a “Sabbath Moment” to hear that inspiring message and reflect on those passages from the Bible. For me, those words were right on time!

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Responses

  1. God’s timing is amazing! I love that passage from Jeremiah! When I witness about my converting to Catholic church, I use that passage! Because God was pretty “sneaky” the way it worked out! A great Sabbath moment, Evan! God bless!

    • So God was “sneaky”, eh? I’d like to hear about that!

  2. I sure like the phrase “child neglect”. It’s a good think to keep in mind when we have no idea why we’re going through tough times. Why is God permitting it? We usually find out much later that He was doing something with us for our good.

    • Yes, we usually want answers yesterday! But often we have to wait, perhaps until we go on to be with the Lord. “Trust and obey…”

  3. A good thought. Thanks for sharing. I have never actually read Pilgrim’s Progress. I’m beginning to think I really need to go check it out.

    • I recommend it. Even though Bunyan was a Protestant preacher, the book has been a spiritual classic for centuries and would be good reading even for Catholics.


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