Lenten Reflection Series | Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
What is it like to be “followed” by goodness and kindness? One sense of the Hebrew word for “follow” is “to chase after.” That can sound pretty negative. It can make you think of a policeman chasing a criminal or a dog chasing a cat.
But “follow” can also mean “to pursue” or “to attend closely to.” While “chase after” might enkindle dread, God’s pursuit produces hope. He is relentless only in his desire to bring goodness to us. He is in ceaseless pursuit of us with only the best of intentions.
Sometimes it can be hard to believe that truth, especially when we are facing difficult situations or trials. At those times, fear and anxiety seem to be the only things following us. Or we can fail to see God’s goodness and kindness attending closely to us when the confusion and demands of daily life seem overwhelming.
In today’s first reading, Susanna is falsely accused and facing execution. Feeling powerless, she cries out, “O eternal God . . . ” (Daniel 13:42). And the eternal God answers her. His goodness and kindness pursue her in the person of Daniel, who speaks wise words, conducts a shrewd examination, and obtains her pardon. Susanna hadn’t been alone in that garden when two scheming old men trapped her; God’s goodness and kindness had been right behind her, following her every move.
God’s goodness and kindness are following closely behind you too. Perhaps they will reach you through another person, as they used Daniel to help Susanna. You might see them in a kind word spoken to you at just the right time, or a small token of affection from your spouse, or wisdom that suddenly dawns on you for a pressing situation. Even if the difficulty you are facing doesn’t get resolved in the way you had hoped, you can still trust that you will see God’s goodness and kindness manifested at just the right time and in just the right way. Above all, know that whatever happens, you can count on the Lord to attend to you closely—not just in desperate situations, but all the days of your life.
“Help me, Lord, to recognize your goodness and kindness in the events of my life today.”
O God, by whose wondrous grace we are enriched with every blessing, grant us so to pass from former ways to newness of life, that we may be made ready for the glory of the heavenly Kingdom.