Fr. Mike Schmitz Bible in a Year Day 118: King Saul Despairs – Fr. Mike’s Reflection (4/28/2021):
“King Saul does what so many of us do when God is silent; he turns to something other than God to have some kind of sense of ‘What should I do next?’. And what he does is he consults a medium. Now Saul had in the past prohibited this -wizards, and prohibited mediums throughout the land and yet here he is, so desperate. And this can be us too, right? There can be a time when we recognize “This is the wrong thing to do” but then we get so desperate that we’re willing to even do the thing that we know has been completely prohibited. We know this is not where I should be, but out of fear –and this is the reality, right– it’s one of the reasons why we can hear these stories and read this story of King Saul and we can realize “I’m not seeing in Saul someone I cannot commiserate with. I’m not seeing in Saul someone I can’t relate to. What I’m seeing in Saul is someone just like myself. That yeah – Oh my gosh – I know right and wrong, and yet when I’m in the place of fear, a place of insecurity, a place of desperation – yeah doing the wrong thing can be very, very appealing. And that’s what he does – he does the wrong thing. He calls upon the medium to bring up the prophet Samuel. …
Here’s what the Catechism says about this whole thing – in 2115 under the Commandment of not having any other gods before the Lord God. “God can reveal the future to His prophets or His other saints. Still a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future. So the Christian attitude means that I put myself confidently into the hands of God himself for whatever concerns the future; giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. That’s so good. Now on the other hand improvidence can cost you the lack of responsibility, like taking no care of the future can constitute a lack of responsibility. So here’s what we do: We have this freedom where we can put ourselves trustingly into the Lord’s hands knowing that He is the God of all time. The God of everything. At the same time we have to also be concerned and aware of the fact that this moment, while this moment is the most important moment sometimes the job of this moment is to prepare for the next moment. Sometimes the task of this day is to prepare for tomorrow. And so we only do the task of today, but sometimes again the task of today is to prepare for tomorrow. And so there’s this duel – there’s such a balance – I trust in the Lord right now. I don’t want to have an unhealthy curiosity about the future and at the same time I am aware of the fact that the task of right now might be to prepare. The Catechism goes on to say in 2116 “All forms of divination are to be rejected.” This is what Saul did – he was appealing to this medium to try to get an answer that God was not giving. … [The efforts] all are wrong and they all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and other human beings. … and they contradict the honor, respect and loving fear that we owe to God alone. … We’re having recourse to something or someone other than God himself, and someone could say ‘Yeah, but I got healing here” or “I got an answer here” and absolutely you might have done that but you got it from the wrong source. This is something that this chapter of 1 Samuel reveals to us: The medium doesn’t pretend to conjure up Samuel, he actually gets conjured up and it is to Saul’s detriment. The same thing is true for anyone who would call upon a medium or a horoscope or any of those kinds of things. — Get to Confession. Be restored to the Lord. It places your eternal soul in great jeopardy. The consequence for Saul is “you’ll die tomorrow” the prophet Samuel says to Saul. And this kind of thing spiritually kills us. You don’t have to be afraid because Jesus Christ conquers everything, but we do have to make a point of turning away from all sources of evil like this and turning back to the Lord. Repenting. Going to COnfession if we have a chance. And getting rid of all traces of those things in our lives.
What a gift to be able to be called higher. To realize there is a spiritual world out there that we are a part of. But at the same time we have to be able to trust in the Lord more than anything else, even when He’s silent. Not to take the control of the future in our own hands. I know it’s hard and this world is difficult, this life is difficult and that’s what we keep praying for each other.
Listen to Fr. Mike Schmitz Bible in a Year Day 118: King Saul Despairs here: https://bibleinayear.fireside.fm/day-118
This reflection spoke so deeply to my heart. I knelt down in thanksgiving at the foot of the baby bouncer, staring at baby Ruth and thanking God for this moment. This moment that was born of much time, prayer, persistence in prayer, despair, and stopping asking in prayer –for if God at least knew my heart He knew its desires but I couldn’t pray for it anymore without deep pain over the longing.
A moment I had accepted as impossible after 6 years of “unanswered” prayers. A moment I struggled over spiritually – balancing my longings and desires against what God was saying He wanted for me.
God made me work through a lot of issues, many I didn’t even know I had, regarding His ways versus my ways.
I constantly was at prayer saying “Not my will but thy will” – trying to remind myself that even if I desired it that if it wasn’t God’s will I should only do what is right in pursuing it and not seek a means to achieving my goals that was against God’s desires. It was a tough, tough journey of prayer and acceptance.
I was constantly at prayer saying “Not in my time but yours” – trying to keep hope that what felt like an unanswered prayer was God’s way of giving me the answer or testing my faithfulness and trust or maybe He was just saying “not now, but later”. …6 years of wondering if His answer was “You get one” (Nora) and trying to accept that that could be the answer – done and done.
And I’ve written elsewhere about this spiritual, emotional, life-draining struggle, so what I want to focus on here is how Fr. Mike’s words cut to my heart.
Day 118’s message felt like an affirmation to my soul that I did as God asked – patiently wait and trust and hope – to give up the unhealthy curiosity about the future in as far as stopping myself from doing something which would have deeply wounded my relationship with God. It was a tough road to travel -trying to adhere to His narrow way while properly persisting/waiting for the future to be the now that I wanted.
And by God’s grace He granted me the moment I had longed for. I had told my head that it wasn’t going to happen but God knew the desire of my heart. And at a moment which was the right time He allowed me to become pregnant, He kept the baby safe for 9 months, and He brought her safely into this world.
“Sometimes the job of this moment is to prepare for the next moment. Sometimes the task of this day is to prepare for tomorrow.” What a beautiful and profound sentiment! That statement would have been so immensely helpful to have heard early on to help me during my long journey. But to hear it now allowed me to think about all that time I spent waiting – and how God graced me with many moments of preparation. I didn’t necessarily know that those were “preparation moments” at the time, but to be able to look back now and see that they were exactly that reveals to me God loves and caring for me. His answer felt silent, but all along He was providing moments of preparation which led me to the moment of a clear answer.
I thank God for His deep love and this glimpse into how my faithfulness pleased Him and how I was rewarded. I wanted so badly to control the future, but I didn’t seek out the wrong path to get there. God graced me with these words as a ‘thank you’ for my faithfulness — though it is I who must thank Him and praise Him. Thank you God for your love and goodness! Thank you God for caring for me! Thank you God for answering my prayers! Thank you God for your protection during the journey! Thank you God!