March 15, 2017: GOD’S DEBT

~by Louis Templeman

I was taking a prayer walk, praying and musing over a matter I desperately needed an answer to. I felt entitled to an answer. I had been faithful in daily prayer and scripture reading. I had been to confession several times in the last few months. For over a year I’d not missed praying the rosary. I was purposely meditating on the positive, speaking my faith and not my doubt. In other words, I was connecting the dots. Doing all I could to work the work of faith and not get in the Holy Spirit’s way; and somehow inhibiting my reception of the miracle I so needed.

Connecting the dots but still I could not picture God’s answer. I continued walking, praying in the Spirit when a thought flashed in my head as if some TV evangelist shouted at me, “He has to answer with a miracle. He owes it to you!” On one level this can make for exciting preaching. Yet, it did not sit well with me. As I walked under the overcast sky I looked up and said aloud “You don’t owe me anything. In no way could you ever be in my debt.” This cleared my heart and head and yet still left me longing for an answer.

At that point the words of Romans 13: 8 ran like a digital read-out in my head, “Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another.” As these thoughts distilled in my mind it occurred to me that God, being God, has a debt. But, He is not in my debt. What could I do for Him that He is obligated to repay?

Let’s look at the scripture to see a little of what God gives, and why he gives, before we decide the answer.

Psalm 23: 3: You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name.

I Samuel 12: 22: For the sake of his own great name the Lord will not abandon his people since

1 John 4: 8ff: Whoever is without love does not know God for God is love . . . God sent his only Son

Psalm 25: 11: For the sake of your name pardon my guilt though it is great the Lord himself chose to make you his people. son into the world that we might have life through him. In this is love. Not that we

It is not that God is indebted to us. Our good works, our faith, our patient suffering is not what gets God’s attention. We have His attention. He is very attentive to our needs and desires even when we don’t request it. Even when we ignore Him! I have His attention. Yet, I cannot quit asking for it. I already have the loving hand. Nevertheless, I desperately seek to obtain it. I cannot neglect importuning Him for the very thing His love has designated for me.

Parents commonly give children chores or duties to carry out before they are allowed to sit and enjoy their lunch. So, hopefully, the children get busy and clean, or pick up, or wash themselves prior to enjoying the meal they greedily and unashamedly desire, or even demand. And, as they sit and eat and drink, they feel as if their mother has worked off an obligation. One owed them. They earned it. Perhaps, they not only washed their hands but they also washed their faces. Perhaps, they not only picked up the room but they also made their beds.

And so, they deserve another scoop of pudding. By their work and obedience, they created a debt the mother must repay. Not considering that the pudding and the meal were waiting on them even before the mother gave them the order.

The mother is obligated by her love. The children are hers. Before her children can think to ask she has already planned and scheduled when and how she would meet her children’s needs.

So is God’s love for us. He is obligated by His love. And, for the sake of His name.


Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D. Louis has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is fighting the good fight. Much of what he writes these days he is sharing his journey with us. Please keep Louis and his wife Joy in your prayers.

CLICK HERE to visit Louis’ Catholic Journeyman Archive

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