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Thursday, January 15, 2004

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1 Samuel 4:1-11
Psalm 44
Mark 1:40-45

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helping to make matters worse?

"Why has the Lord permitted us to be defeated today?" —1 Samuel 4:3

The Israelites lost a battle against the Philistines. Four thousand soldiers were killed (1 Sm 4:2). "The elders of Israel said, 'Why has the Lord permitted us to be defeated today by the Philistines?' " (1 Sm 4:3) Then instead of waiting for an answer, they went into battle again. "It was a disastrous defeat, in which Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers" (1 Sm 4:10).

Bad things happen to all of us throughout our lives. Naturally, we ask the Lord "Why?" Naturally, we often go on without receiving God's answer. Then we do something that makes matters worse. We are easily stampeded by our pain and disappointment into "doing our own thing," which is often the cause of bad things happening to us. Therefore, bad things usually don't come one at a time. Our reaction to the first evil often leads to bad things unnecessarily coming in bunches.

You've heard the saying: "Don't just sit there, do something." When bad things happen, this saying should be reversed: "Don't just do something, sit there." For example, after the Israelites lost the battle at Ai, they asked God the reason for their defeat (Jos 7:7). Only after they had received God's answer and acted on it did they go into battle a second time. Then they won the battle (Jos 8:24).

Stop multiplying bad things. Keep evil to a minimum. Wait and listen to God.

Prayer:  Father, still my soul (Ps 131:2).

Promise:  "He stayed in desert places; yet people kept coming to Him from all sides." —Mk 1:45

Praise:  Josephine spends one or two hours per week in the quiet of God's presence in eucharistic adoration.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our leaflet Hearing God or on audio AV 45-1 or video V-45.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, June 23, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2003