In mid-January, Sr. Michael Penelope and I spent a week away at Villa St. Martin in Pierrefonds, Quebec for our annual winter retreat with our first and second-year applicants. On this retreat, the first-year Applicants and I walked with their patron saint, St. Therese of Lisieux, and the book I Believe in Love. This was a time of rest with Jesus and St. Therese before the start of the new semester of formation. Although it was a bit of a working retreat for me, I still was able to find time to walk with the Lord in addition to walking with the Applicants.

In the middle of the week, one of the Mass readings stood out and spoke volumes to me. Just before Mass began that day. I realized in prayer that I wasn’t trusting the Lord as I should. Some things are happening in the coming months in my life that I find myself worrying and futurizing. During that prayer, I realized that in my worrying and futurizing, I was telling the Lord:

“I don’t trust that you will be there with me…I don’t trust that you will take care of everything…I don’t trust you.”

That realization of my actions saddened my heart tremendously; all I could do at that moment was repent and ask for His forgiveness.

All these thoughts happened before I knew about the first reading that day. It was the story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51).

All the other Israelites fled from Goliath and were very much afraid. David said to Saul, “Let no one’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” 

David said, “The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.” (verses 32-33, 37)

It was then mentioned in the homily that most times when we hear this story in the Bible, we focus it on being the big guy versus the little guy – that the underdog will be the victor in the end.  However, it is about the trust that David had in the Lord. There was that phrase again…TRUST IN THE LORD. I could not deny that the Lord was speaking to my heart at that moment.

I know I tend to see others or situations as ‘Goliaths’ in my life and retreat in fear. I then let fear overtake me. I don’t always face the fear with that David-sized faith, as I gather the stones into my bag, and trust in the Lord. In those moments, I become Saul and I tell myself “I am not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him.”

This is where I need to learn to fast from myself. I need to let go of the Saul-like thoughts in my mind and live like David, which was to trust wholeheartedly in the Lord. I need to cling to my true identity. Instead, I can embrace my belovedness in the Lord. With Him, ALL things are possible. I can stop just saying these words and start living out of these truths that the Lord has given us throughout the Bible. Yes, the ‘Goliaths’ in life can be big and scary, but there is nothing to fear. The Lord will save me from his hands.

I am reminded as I put myself into this story, of a talk I heard many years ago on a Lighthouse CD called “Facing Your Fears” by Mark Hart. In this talk, he posed the question, “What are the 5 smooth stones in your life that give you enough confidence to walk into any battle and to know that the Lord is with you?” For me, I believe that this first stone needs to be a strong, rock-solid trust in the Lord. Trust in knowing that He will never abandon me. He will always be at my side. He will take care of everything. He will fight my battles for me, I need only to be still. (Exodus 14:14).

You may be wondering “What are the other 4 stones in the bag?”  This I will continue to bring to prayer and ask the Lord. I trust he will show me as I journey through this season of Lent. For now, He has me focusing on Trust. There is a sense that my next stone may be the virtue of Prudence. However, it will be revealed to me in God’s time. I do know that these stones are vitally important in fighting the ‘Goliaths’ that I come upon.

These 5 stones will be different for everyone. During this coming time of Lent, pray and ask the Lord to reveal what those 5 stones are for you. What do you need in your shepherd’s bag to face the giants in your life? What is something that the Lord is revealing about you that you need to fast from in order to experience life-changing freedom?

One Comment

  1. Michelle L February 15, 2024 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    I love this post Sr. Alison! I struggle with trusting the Lord as well and could totally relate to what you were saying. Never heard about the 5 stones and will have to look and pray into that for myself.

    God bless

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