Voices of Recovery today reads in part, “Hope was the first gift I was given… In spite of my doubts, I felt hope.  With that hope came courage… Tapping into that courage requires only the tiniest bit of willingness to change…”  I remember how the overwhelm of identifying with a disease like this was quickly washed away by the hope I saw in the faces in the rooms of OA.  The inclusion, the acceptance, the genuine joy of those crowds as they talked of deliverance seemed to be just what I needed to inspire me to grab hold of this fellowship and program and give it all I had left.  That turned out to be just what I needed.  Thank God for the Steps and fellows of OA!

 

Proverbs 21:3 echoes a recurring thought from recent meditations, “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.  This reminds me that the practices and ceremonies of “religion” are not where my spiritual service is, but in my every day, moment-by-moment living.  It is in action rather than reaction, service rather than distracted oversight, and self-denial rather than self-indulgence.  It occurs to me that when I focus on what I do in the name of spiritual service, I am less focused on what I am not doing, having, or eating (sacrifice).  So it is not just more acceptable to the Lord, but it is more beneficial to me.  God, keep me focused on You, and help me see Your face in those who suffer near me, that in my service to them I would serve You.

 

1 Samuel 17 contains the familiar story of David and Goliath.  As moving as that story always is for me, today what struck me was the matter of David’s preparation.  In verses 36 and 37 he addressed King Saul, “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.  The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”  What if David had never overcome the obstacles of lion and bear?  Would he have found the willingness to charge at the giant champion of war?  I tend to moan and groan about my struggles, rather than to be grateful for the faith-building exercise they are.  It is only by successfully emerging from the attacks of a few beasts that I can say to a giant, like David did in verses 45-47, “I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel…it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s.”  Holy Father, thank You for the assurance that the battle, its lessons and its outcomes, are all Yours.  Thank You for Your deliverance, and also for Your perfect timing that allows me to learn from my lion and bear before I ever have to face a giant.  Thank You for Your loving instruction!

 

The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God’s universe. The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.”  (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 25)
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