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SUNDAY SCRIPTURES FOR FEB. 4 | Build a habit of coming to God amid good and bad times

Examples from the Scriptures this week show us we need to incorporate God into every moment of our lives

Whether at the height of our popularity or at the depths of our despair, we should always talk with God before making any choices or decisions. The Scriptures for the fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time give us two great examples of those trying to follow what God is asking them to do, but from very different life experiences.

Job experiences the seeming meaninglessness of life. He is losing all of his connections with other people. He has to let go of all expectations of what life would bring him; he is even wrestling with whether or not God remembers him. Job is in a very sad place of life. Most of our worst choices are made during low points in life. Out of desperation or despair, we tried to do something alone. We feel alone, without companions and, sometimes, without God. Even amid dark times, we should always talk with God.

Jesus is at a very different place in life than Job. He experienced healing power coming out from Him. He is very popular to the point of not even having time to eat. Those around Him are awed by His power and glory. Maybe we have never been that powerful or popular, but we all know that feeling of our ego being engaged in seeking more attention and more adulation. Jesus gives us the perfect example of what to do at that time. He is very aware of other people’s expectations of Him. They want Him to come back to their village and do more healing. Instead of engaging and feeding His ego, He steps out of the voices of popularity and into a time of prayer with His Father. There, He experiences the renewal of the call to go throughout the land, preach the Good News and heal those who are sick. Each of us is called to consult God even when we’re at the high points of our lives so that we don’t give into popularity but instead choose the mission and call that Jesus has given to each of us.

Always consulting God first seems to go against our cultural understanding of freedom. If we’re not careful, we begin to believe that freedom means we can do whatever we want whenever we want. That understanding takes any consultation with God out of the equation. Our prayer life disappears, and God goes from top priority to the last to be consulted. We do that because we know that if we consult God, we might not always get to do or get what we want.

Any of us who value being in control will find it difficult to consult God. If we choose to consult Him, we might have to consider another way of doing things. Others of us who choose isolation and disengagement will find it difficult to choose to be connected since we find so much peace and control in being isolated.

Consulting God involves incorporating Him into every moment of our lives. It means calling out to Him in the morning, afternoon and evening. It means calling out to God before and after meals, when we wake up and before we go to sleep. It means speaking with God as we enjoy triumphs and hit the depths of despair. Consulting Him means using our words to talk with the God of mercy and love. We don’t have to have the perfect words to express exactly where we are in life. Speaking with God is often healing and draws us into communion with Him. It means building a habit of coming to God in every moment of our lives. Changing habits of individualism or isolationism is difficult but worth it.

Father Donald Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters.

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