Small victories

There is a bizarre story in the scriptures about Moses praying for victory with his arms outstretched. As long as he kept his arms up Israel had the advantage. But if he grew tired and his arms sagged Israel began to lose ground. It is a story that reinforces the words of the psalm (44:6), “my victory was not won by my sword; it was you who saved us.” Yes, but it was not only God who saved them. They needed the sword too!

Sometimes we think that if we pray hard enough we will get what we want. It doesn’t work like that. We are also called to do something. First I need to dispose myself before God in humble acknowledgement that he knows what is best.

That takes a little time because I have my own agenda and I may not like anyone diverting me from it, even God. I often say the words, “thy will be done” in the Our Father. They trip off my tongue, but when the chips are down I actually prefer my will to be done.

So it may take a bit of time to quieten down so that I hear what God has to say on this matter I’m so keen on. He may, for instance, say, “well, what are you doing about it?” Jesus has a story about a widow who “kept on coming” to a judge demanding justice. She prayed about her problem but she took action too.

We hear stories of such people sometimes in the media who persevere, sometimes for years, in pursuit of justice for themselves or their relatives. The judge eventually gives her what she wants but only out of fear that she will “worry me to death.” The Greek word comes from boxing; she will batter me! Some widow!

Our insistence in prayer has to be joined with doing something to move in tandem with our prayer. We often pray for what we want and at this time of the year many students pray for success in their exams. Well, if they haven’t done the work no amount of praying will help!

It is the same with the country. We pray for our country and that is good. But we also need to do something to bring about what we are praying for. It does not have to be big or dramatic. There are many small ways in which we can make a difference. Someone came from Europe recently and said she was amazed how helpful people were in shops, offices and banks. What is our experience in our own country? Can we do anything about that? Small victories create awareness and awareness is contagious.

Post published in: Faith

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *