Tobit 3:1-11a, 16-17a
"Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?"
Have you ever been in a situation that was so distressful that you just wished you could walk away? Or have you ever been pushed to the point where you wanted to give it all up? I’m not speaking here of the illness of depression, but of those times when life presses in so hard, on so many sides that it seems as if you have no power to go forward. In the first reading today we find two people in that very situation.
Tobit is a righteous man. He not only does what is commanded by the Law, but also those things that he knows to be right and just even though they are proscribed by the civil authorities. For this he earns the scorn of his neighbors, the loss of all of his possessions and, in the end, he even loses his sight.
Meanwhile, in another city, Sarah finds herself pushed to her limits. She has been married seven times and in each case a demon has taken her husband from her, leaving her childless. In society at this time this is a great shame upon her and her family. Like Tobit, she prays to the Lord, ‘Take this all away from me. It would be better that I were dead." She even finds herself contemplating suicide.
Even Jesus Himself came to a point in his life where He asked the Father to "Take this cup away." But, like Jesus, Tobit and Sarah carry on, trusting that God has heard their prayer and that they have done all they can. And in the story from Tobit, we see an amazing miracle! God is pulling strings, organizing meetings, planting seeds of thought in peoples’ minds, even sending angels to Earth to serve those in need.
I once confided to a colleague that I felt completely unable to deal with a new responsibility that was asked of me at work. There was a critical position that needed to be filled for the good of our school and, as unprepared as I was, I was the best fit for the position. He shared that in his experience, when we step forward to take up new work in service to others, the spiritual world sends forth help that we cannot even imagine.
My prayer for today is that I trust in the help that God sends to me, even when I don’t recognize the angels.
Talib Huff is a volunteer at Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center in Citrus Heights, California.