If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Roar and the Whimper

I tossed and turned trying to ignore Eric's wall-rattling snores from the guest room down the hall. But it was no use. There would be no further sleep for me until he rolled over.

Might as well check on Zion, I thought to myself as I threw off the covers and slipped out of bed. Our four-year-old could sleep through a tornado, so I was not expecting to see him lying awake in his bed, his  eyes wide with terror.

"What's wrong?" I asked as I sat beside him. He didn't answer, but from the growls down the hall, I guessed the problem.

"Are you frightened?"

He nodded and pointed toward the other room. "Lion," he whispered and snuggled close to me.

"You think there is a lion in the house?" I tried not to smile.

When he nodded again, I lifted him into my arms and tiptoed to the other room. I opened the door and showed him the 'lion.' Zion stared at him for a few moments. And then smiled.

In thinking back on that experience I wonder if there might be a close spiritual parallel between Zion's fears and those of my own. Satan's roar sometimes seem very much like a lion's, and it can paralyze me with fear . . . fear of the unknown, fear of the future, of the past, of the present. My “What if” replaces God’s “Who is like Me in majesty and power?”

Someone has said, "God's peace is always greater than our fears." I think St. Paul understood this when he wrote to the Church at Rome: What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or the sword? . . . No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-39).

Standing at the threshold of the lion's den and seeing the reality, my son relaxed in my arms. His terror turned to peace. But oh! To be as a child in the arms of my heavenly Father, to stand with Him at the threshold of hell itself and know – really know the glorious truth -- that Satan's rage has been forever deflected by Calvary!

For good reason Scripture declares: God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love . . . (2 Timothy 1:7). Yet I am too often too busy cowering in the corner to remember that truth which can set me free.  

And that knowledge alone ought to be sufficient reason for me to daily ask God to grant me a hunger for His word; that I might thirst for it as a parched deer searching for a cool spring. How else can any of us know Christ's freedom except by knowing His word? How else can we understand God's power within us to stand at the threshold of hell itself and sense the peace of God wash over our hearts?

Though our guest's snores rattled on, my son went back to bed and quickly fell asleep. And so too it can be for us. Though Satan's roar seems ferocious, though it rob us of joy, freedom, and peace, God wants us to know when confronted with faith in Christ, Satan's roar sounds more like a whimper than a spine-chilling howl.

Because a whimper is what it really is.


MCD said...

Powerful story, Rich. Thank you.

Richard Maffeo said...

You're welcome. I'm glad it meant something good to you.