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Posts Tagged ‘captivity and restoration’


Ezra 5 & 6: Hesitation

Saturday, October 7, 2017

A Favorite from Tuesday, January 12, 2010.

We have looked at the opening chapters of this book to reflect on the idea of restoration after captivity.  We have seen the Israelites number themselves in a new census to best prepare themselves for the work ahead when they return to their ruined city and temple.  We listened as a great shout went up from the people who rejoiced to have their sacred places returned to them.  And we also spent time looking at how opposition entered into their individual and collective lives almost immediately.  I am not certain why we are back here again unless it is to remind us of something.  And then I find the nugget we look for today: Hesitation is as much a part of God’s plan as forging onward.

When we read this story from the opening of the book we see that the work was halted (4:24) even after it had been initially approved.  When we go to the end of chapter 6, this is what we read: They joyfully kept the feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days, for the Lord had filled them with joy by making the king of Assyria favorable to them, so that he gave them help in their work on the house of God, the God of Israel. 

The Lord had filled them with joy . . . he gave them help in their work . . .

We know that true and lasting joy comes only from God yet we humans still look for it elsewhere.  Then we are disappointed when it disappears.  We also tend to forget that we cannot accomplish all things.  We forget that God has a better perspective than we do – even of our own lives.  We do not like to relinquish control of any of this – our joy, our work, our lives.  We cannot see that sometimes doing nothing is actually doing something – especially when this hesitation is part of the divine plan.

I frequently read from a small book of reflections (LIVING FAITH: DAILY CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS) and today’s is written by Rebecca Sande.  Its title is Wholehearted Prayer, and I am thinking that this is how we must conduct the hesitating portions of our lives.  She prays: Dear Lord, I will devote quality time to my prayer today.  Let it be loving, fervent, intimate contact that you desire to have with me.  With this kind of praying we cannot go wrong even in the middle of a prolonged and painful hesitation.

The Lord had filled them with joy . . . he gave them help in their work . . .

For my part, when I begin to think about shaving time from God in order to give it to my work or play, I am always amazed at how much better my work and play go when I have given God his full due.

The Lord had filled them with joy . . . he gave them help in their work . . . Dear Lord, I will devote quality time to my prayer today . . . and it will be my wholehearted prayer . . . for it is the only way I will survive this present hesitation. 

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