Charles felt abandoned. He was sitting in his boss’s office trying to answer questions being asked of him without getting upset. It all began the day before when his supervisor asked Charles to report to him first thing in the morning.
What was going on? Charles had no idea. So he went to his co-worker and asked if he knew what was going on. Joe and Charles had worked together for about five years now. And Charles trusted him. Joe said that he had just heard that the “powers that be” were starting to investigate some illegal accounting procedures in several of the departments. Joe said that he thought since Charles was the head of their department, they were questioning him first.
Charles didn’t sleep well that night. He was a pretty good accountant, but maybe there was something that slipped past his notice. He had never taken any money or played games with the numbers, but just the fact that he was going to be questioned—-that his superiors might be looking at him suspiciously—-was very upsetting.
The questioning the next day was intense, but Charles answered things as best he could. To the best of his knowledge, he didn’t know of any inappropriate handling of the company’s accounts.
Afterwards Charles thought to himself, “What were they looking for?” Maybe he had done something wrong—-innocently, of course. But even if he just got his hand slapped, he was such a sensitive kind of guy, that that would be a really difficult thing to deal with.
On his way home, Charles stopped at his parish church. He entered the church and knelt down in the back pew and prayed, “Lord, please protect me. This experience is making me feel so threatened. Please don’t let shame come to me and my family. Help me, Lord. I feel so alone.” And the sense he got from his prayer was that God was asking him to, first of all, calm down, and stop creating scenarios that were not real. God would help him. He wasn’t going to abandon him now that Charles really needed him.
Have you ever been put in a situation where your whole life was turned upside down in an instant? Did someone give you news that floored you? If you have been through an experience like that you know what a terrible feeling that can be; how unsafe and insecure you can feel. It can actually lead to panic.
St. Paul writes in his letter to his friend Timothy: “At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me.” I wonder if St. Paul felt alone when he saw that the authorities were getting closer to him, that they were out to kill him.
But then notice what he writes next: “But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength.” St. Paul was learning that it is God’s grace that will see him through whatever lies ahead.
Unnerving things can happen to us. Where do we turn when this happens? Do we panic? St Paul turned to Christ and received the strength he needed to continue on. He became convinced of something very important. “The Lord will rescue me from every threat and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.
What comforting words! So, have confidence in the Lord, and try not to panic and be overwhelmed by fear. Ask God to help you to stop listening to the voice of fear.