BeIng Prepared for Battle
Her criticism came out of the blue; we had been having a conversation earlier that morning and I had made some comments that she probably did not agree with.
So she came over to me later and said: “Joan, I feel that you should learn to be more open to new things.”
I began to argue that I did not feel I had a closed mind, and then I stopped. In her mind I was too traditional and in my own mind, I trusted that I always listened to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and tried to base my opinions on them.
This friend is one of the loveliest, kindest persons I know; you can imagine that I left that morning conference with hurt feelings because I did not expect her to be so critical of me.
Loving the Lord does not mean that we will be protected from the hurt of human feelings. After all, Jesus suffered many darts and arrows from those around him. Of course, when a comment comes unexpectedly, we can be shocked. We often forget that we are all vulnerable human beings.
God sees everything that happens and He expects us to bring those bruised feelings to Him in prayer. We will never be immune to suffering and as we all know, often the evil one prowls about looking to cause trouble, and will sometimes use that person we admire or love to provide some chaos or a little pain to our hearts.
Within a few hours of this incident, I chose to go to Mass. As I opened my prayer book to the Sunday readings, I was blessed by the second reading. It was from 2 Timothy 1: verses 6-8 and 13 and 14. In fact my copy of the New American Bible refers to those lines as: “The Spirit God has given us is no cowardly spirit, but rather one that makes us strong, loving and wise. …never be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord….with the strength that comes from God, bear your share of the hardship which the Gospel entails.”
And then, further along: “Take as a model of sound teaching what you have heard me say, in faith and love of Christ Jesus. Guard the rich deposit of faith with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.”
I felt comfort from this piece of scripture. Yes, I am traditional in my faith journey and do not go in search of new ways of prayer, but always try to listen, whenever they are encountered. I pray to the Holy Spirit daily and consider the Blessed Virgin to be a very close friend to my heart and soul. She is the ‘Spouse of the Spirit’ and therefore, a very wise guide for us.
I believe I received permission from the Lord to follow the insights that the Holy Spirit had provided in the reading for that day. I prayed for my friend that our negative moment would be dissolved by the next time we would meet. I value her friendship and the encouragement she has always provided for all of my undertakings for the Lord.
It is ironic that this passage from 2 Timothy had been underlined in my Bible; there must have been another time years ago when I needed those words of wisdom.
As Christians, we must be prepared to suffer a few hardships or differences of opinion. We should heed the words of Ephesians 6:13 that states: “You must put on the armour of God if you are to resist on the evil day; do all that your duty requires and hold your ground. Stand fast, with the truth as the belt around your waist….”
I forgot to get properly dressed in my spiritual armour that day! We never know when we might have to face a small battle, nor how the enemy will use those we love to hurt our feelings. Let us always be prepared!