“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” –Psalm 23
My friend recently sent me a link to Jesus’ words to St. Faustina regarding spiritual warfare. In His own words, Jesus warns Sr. Faustina against the various pitfalls that a soul may encounter, and comforts her with the greatest promise He could give: the gift of Himself.
I highly recommend that you read all of Jesus’ 25 secrets to spiritual warfare, because it’s incredibly enlightening and empowering. However, if I could sum Jesus’ words up in one sentence, it would be:
Trust in Me above all, and I will be with you always.
God has made this promise to Adam and Eve, to Abraham and Sarah, to Moses and the Chosen people. God literally becomes one of us so He can fulfill this promise—even when we don’t keep our promise to Him. He continues to make this promise to us as we go about our everyday lives. So, what does it mean to trust in God?
Trusting in God means distrusting our peers, our plans, and our pride. It means placing every hope, every need and every desire in His more than capable hands. It means listening to our superiors (a spiritual director or confessor) instead of popular opinion. Sometimes, it even means going against what seems rational. I call this “the higher irrationality of being a Christian.”
Our culture tells us to obey our feelings. Our culture feeds us the lie that if our natural, uninhibited desires are at odds with Church doctrine, we ought to change the doctrine, and not ourselves. The rules of Catholicism don’t make any sense to those who “feel” their way through life.
If God is calling us to do something, it should “feel” right, shouldn’t it? Not always.
Consider Jonah the Prophet: God asks him to go East by land to convert a whole town, and Jonah goes West by sea instead. From a human perspective, this makes sense: it seems irrational to enter a town full of unpredictable sinners and start ordering them around. In his fear, Jonah distrusts God’s judgement to the point of doing the exact opposite of what God asks of him.
How often do we reject God’s will out of fear, boredom, or sheer stubbornness?
Jonah ends up almost drowning when he trusts in himself more than he trusts God. Of course, this isn’t to say that obeying God means “smooth sailing” in all of our efforts. It does mean that even when we experience hunger, humiliation or hardship, God is here, suffering alongside us. All we have to do is admit that our plans are short-sighted, while God’s plans are eternal. While the world sees unnecessary suffering and foolish sacrifice, we see a loving Father who wants the very best for us—body and soul.
So there it is: to beat the forces of evil, we must learn to tame our own stubbornness and trust in God.
Who would’ve thought? The key to winning the spiritual war is surrender!
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