Stubborn ideas harass us. Inexhaustible questions yawn at us. Circumstances drive us to desperate acts. We delay the moment until we're finally caught, our backs pinned to a wall. We have retreated from the moment since infancy. We know that God's all-seeing eyes are upon us, but how often do we leave letters open on the bedside table so that God will read them?
We can make up our minds that we will not appear before God until we appear as the least troubled of men, but how long can that last? Experience has taught us that our days fly swiftly to their conclusion. We don't have time to waste wondering who else is hemmed in.
So we ask: What have I done? Will I come out alive?
We can make up our minds that we will not appear before God until we appear as the least troubled of men, but how long can that last?
We need to talk to God because we distrust ourselves. Nobody except God has promised he can receive our shipwrecked message. We can wish for someone to pick it up, so that our letter won't float in a vacuum, but it will remain unopened and alone until God grabs, opens, and reads it. There's an unending sea of prayers carried along by the currents of life, and only God can and will read all of them.
To God, a lost soul is no little thing. Millions of people without support fall every day from their first rising in the morning until the last moment they fall into sin, death, and hellish torment. We know all of them because all of them are like us. The messages may be written by a different hand in a different language and way of expression, but the message is the same: our need is brief and personal.
The explanations we're offered about the universe fall out of our hands. The keys to life are quickly misplaced or lost. The shadowy hours we devote to searching for wise men and saints find no place in the light of the truth; our need is brief and personal. We don't need much, but what we need is essential.
We feel cheated when our attempts at kindness produce an explosive result. The scales we use aren't useful for weighing what works well for us and what doesn't. Something keeps preventing us from choosing the ingredients that yield the highest good. There's always something rotten stuck to them, and the final product explodes in our hands. And we seem to be accompanied everywhere by a good-natured demon who kindly suggests evil things to us.
Why can't we have peace in one moment? That's all we want. God, make temptation unsurprisingly unattractive. Lord, ignore my cleverness and opportunistic outlook and eliminate the horrible things. Replace them with innocent objects that thank, praise, serve and obey you.
The devil paves our way and slants the road, so turn us away from evil. Heavenly Father, stop the devil from sabotaging our lives! Seize our infantile souls with your promises and relieve them of the heavy secrets that prevent us from standing upright and walking free over smoothed-out landscapes you have made smooth for us. Exorcize the devil's apparitions that turn our dreams into nightmarish, pungent, evil flavors baked in childhood memories.
All we want is peace in the moment. We want a respite from feeling defenseless. We pray for a place to stand that doesn't crumble so easily. We send out a message to God if he can't give us more than a few hours of quiet where we don't have to worry about what we've carefully built up blowing over the minute someone breathes on it. And at night, we do not feel overwhelmed by the ruins of a day destroyed.
But instead of just answering our prayers, God sends us a preacher to announce the good news. Yes, our prayers have been received by our Heavenly Father and acted on. More than that, though, God's preacher declares that evil cannot live with us. Evil must console itself somewhere else other than where sinners pray for good. The punishing forces that threaten to topple us in our weakness must lurk somewhere else. God's strength is greater than their malevolence. They cannot defend themselves when the Holy Spirit comes with words that penetrate through and bone and marrow of our souls. We may always lose the battles, and remorse may band together with memory to overthrow the confidence that we have in Christ Jesus, but God is a master swordsman who is undefeated. He will not allow us to fall.
The answer to our messages is God's "yes," Jesus, who sends his preachers to proclaim that there's no place for us now other than in the grip of our God and Savior.
We may not be well-disciplined or familiar with personal victories, but the mere presence of God's Word tears us from the grasp of all evil. The answer to our messages is God's "yes," Jesus, who sends his preachers to proclaim that there's no place for us now other than in the grip of our God and Savior.
We don't need to dispute the eternal words. We are called God's favorites because in Christ, through faith, that's all and only what we are to him. We are his favorites, his chosen. Across the centuries, not the bloodthirsty nor the imbeciles who trample God's divine seal have ever separated any message uttered in faith from God's love for us in Jesus Christ.
God sees and listens thoroughly to our every word, whether spoken in hope or bitterness. So we are free to write our letters to God and leave them open on our bedside table. Every subject we select to pray about is the most beautiful subject to our Heavenly Father. He receives all our troubles and cares with equanimity and reassures us that he will act for us today so that we will easily recognize him. We will not have to discover how he acts because he will send us his preachers to lighten our darkness, smooth out our roughest roads, and make clear that, as he says: I am with you always, even until the end of the world.Inspired by the essay, El Silencio de Dios, by Juan Jose Arreola.