There is a Bible story that is worth retelling,
also because hardly anyone speaks about it.
It is the year 875 before Christ. Jehoshaphat
has been reigning in Judah already for fifteen
years when a huge army from the neighboring
tribes attacked his land. It was tough because
the armed forces of Judah were puny and inadequately
equipped. However the king was wise. He asked
for help. From God!
God - as always - intervened and He put words
in the mouth of Jahaziel the son of Zechariah,
who boldly uttered, "Listen, King Jehoshaphat
and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem!
This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not
be afraid or discouraged because of this
vast army. For the battle is not yours, but
God's… You need not fight in this battle;
station yourselves, stand and see the salvation
of the Lord on your behalf. Do not fear or
be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them,
for the Lord is with you."
And sure enough, the next day, the king and
his army woke up early and went out for battle!
But they did something really odd. They appointed
a group of men as a choir for God and dressed
in holy robes put them up in front the troops
and had them sing "Give Thanks to the
Lord, His love is everlasting"!!!
Just imagine the scene. God had told King
Jehoshaphat to do something pretty radical.
Like in the last battle in Iraq, to send
the Marine band out to meet the army of Saddam
Hussein!! However, apparently, this is God's
way of winning battles! In fact, something
inexplicable happened to the enemy.
Hearing the music and the singing, the army
on the other side panicked and started fighting
between themselves! They massacred themselves
without Judah even having to let off one
single arrow! "As Judah came up over
the rise, looking into the wilderness for
the horde of barbarians, they looked on a
killing field of dead bodies--not a living
soul among them." Read it. 2 Chronicles
I always find this story very enlightening
because God is suggesting a strategy in front
of our adversaries, a strategy that works!
Let us reflect a minute. What are our enemies
today? Depression? Fellow employees? Cancer?
Divorce? Rebellious children? Lost job? Failing
business? Low grades?
God is basically telling us, first of all,
not to let our fears paralyze us. It is vital
not to believe the lie inside us that mumbles
that it is useless to fight, that we are
without resources. We are not! God is our
ally. He always was. He always will be. He
can work marvels through those who put their
trust in Him.
This is why the king organized a choir to
sing. He could not let the faith of his soldiers
waver! Faith told him that the evil that
came in his way was not a mistake out of
the range of God. This attack of the enemies
was just a desperate effort of God to teach
his people to turn to Him and to cling to
Him more. Because only in clinging to Him
that we can taste real happiness.
A woman came to speak to me with a sad story
of infidelity and verbal abuse of her husband.
She was desperate. Depression had started
creeping in. I could have pitied her and
left her wallowing in self pity. But I did
not. I suggested to her what Saint Paul recommends
in Ephesians 6:16: "above all, take
up the shield of faith, with which you will
be able to quench all the fiery darts of
the evil one."
The evil one is always throwing 'fiery darts'
to us to make us doubt God's faithfulness
or God's strength. Imagination is the gateway
through which the devil enters. That is why
it is so vital to safeguard our mind with
the shield of faith. What does faith tells
me? Faith tells me that God loves this woman
and if He is permitting this situation in
her life, it is only because he realizes
that this is what she needs and, above all,
that He is able to transform even this cruel
violence of her husband into a source of
blessing for her, him and for their children.
I have seen it so many times!
She cannot afford to interiorize this problem.
"In this crazy world, there's an enormous
distinction between good times and bad, between
sorrow and joy. But in the eyes of God, they're
never separated. Where there is pain, there
is healing. Where there is mourning, there
is dancing. Where there is poverty, there
is the kingdom." These are the words
of Henri Nouwen, a man who dedicated all
his later life trying to help people taste
the love of God in their brokenness.
Saint Paul is right. "And we know that
in ALL things God works for the good of those
who love him, who have been called according
to his purpose . . . to be conformed to the
likeness of his Son." Romans 8:28-29.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright