Daily Reflection
January 29th, 2000
Steve Kline
Public Relations
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2 Samuel 12:1-7, 10-17
Psalms 51:12-17
Mark 4:35-41

I do not recall the last time I went through a day or a week without a judgmental sentiment in my heart. I could waste time feeling awful about that.  Or I could recognize it and ask God for help.

Like David in today's first reading, I am quick to recognize fault, wrongdoing and error on the part of others.  It's scary, especially when I consider the difficult and painful process of recognizing my own many faults and errors. I don't need anyone's help in condemning others.  I need all the help I can find to recognize my own defects of character.  I know I must approach God in seeking that help.

What troubles me is that it is so difficult to feel close to the God I encounter in today's readings.

Why does David's child have to suffer?  When I think hard about this, it brings tears to my eyes.  It does make me realize that often I don't understand how deeply and perhaps awfully my behavior can affect others who are close to me.  But how can I be comfortable with the notion of suffering and death inflicted on an innocent child?

Likewise, it is difficult for me to draw comfort from the Gospel story about Jesus and his frightened disciples in the boat on a stormy sea.

I imagine myself in this tiny boat, in the dark, tossed on the storm-whipped deadly black water.  Throw in some vicious lightning, torrents of rain and ear-splitting thunder and of course I'm going to be afraid.  I know the fear is not going to do any good.  I know it means my faith is lacking.  But I would be a liar if I denied that I'm afraid when my life is threatened.

So in the little boat that's near to being swamped, there's Jesus, asleep, blissfully ignorant.  When He is awakened, is He just grumpy, or is He as out of touch with my humanity as he seems?  He says a word, stops the storm and calms the waters.  Then he chews me out for my lack of faith and he goes back to sleep.  I don't like it.


I need you in these ragged awful places where fear rips through my guts and leaves me in the stormy dark.  Make me so full of faith that the storm doesn't faze me, and you remove a big part of the reason I cling to you.  So don't go barking at me about faith.

Are you demanding that I grow up or something?  Does it bother you that I'm driven into your arms by fear?  Can't you understand that if your chosen King David can't control his lust or keep in check his murderous ambitions that a nobody like me can't hope to be any better?

Why do you think that line, "Create in me a clean heart" was written?  It's because we need help.  The painful part is we're unwilling to admit it.  I need you to create my clean heart.  I need you to move in and live there.

I guess my job is to find a way to truly desire that, not out of fear but somehow out of wisdom and love.  I just fumble and stumble around trying to get to the place where I have that desire, where I open my heart and allow you in.

Then, maybe, we can ride out the storm.

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