Walking Our Faith: You love God, but do you trust Him? (column)
April 6, 2018
On Wednesday evening, the small group we started during Lent met to begin a new group study about Divine Mercy. The topic sounds esoteric, but it can be summed up in the simple sentence, "Jesus, I trust in You."
We started our evening at Lou's house, as we do each week, with a simple dinner. I'd made a large pot of escarole soup, Mary brought a delicious broccoli salad. I love cooking for this group. They are people who I have seen every week at Mass for the last three years, but who I am beginning to know as friends as we've met over the last six weeks.
I love cooking for friends. I love these Wednesday night meetings, because as someone who is single, there are moments when I am lonely. To bring a big pot of soup and sit around a dinner table with a group of people I admire, is a source of weekly joy.
After we finished our dinner we watched two videos on the subject of Divine Mercy on Formed.org and afterward discussed why this simple proclamation is a necessary affirmation of our love for God.
What does it meant to trust God? Two days later I am still contemplating my answer. Do I trust God?
Oh, I can answer without a doubt that I love God with all my heart. I spend hours each day speaking to God, thinking about God, serving God. But when you ask me if I trust God, you are asking a question that has many answers. Some of which are not comfortable.
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I have had an unfortunate habit of falling in love with men who do not feel the same toward me. So, there are times when, although I know God loves me more than I could imagine, I worry that his love might be conditional.
This is embarrassing to share. But I'm doing it because I believe I'm not alone in confusing my past experiences with relationships with people, with my relationship with God. And that is exactly what keeps me from fully experiencing God's love for me or trusting that God's love for me is not only real, but unwavering.
When I fell in love with a man, I tried so hard to impress him in hopes he would fall in love with me too. I cooked, I lost weight, I bought the most beautiful clothes and makeup and did anything that would make me more attractive. Somehow, I would earn this love I so desired. But it never worked.
As much as I hate to admit it, I have behaved the same way in my relationship with God. I have set up all sorts of benchmarks I must meet in order to earn God's love. Even in the depths of my prayers with God, I question if I am saying the right thing, in the right way, and if this time God will answer me. I often work the hardest to let go and relax in God's presence. Imagine how comforting it would be to place our worries in God's hands and say, "Jesus, I trust in you."
This sense of desperation, of needing to earn God's love, is exactly why the revelation of Divine Mercy contains the simplest statement: Jesus, I trust in you. To be able to make this simple declaration requires our greatest risk, to trust that God loves us. Just as we are.
Last Sunday we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus. After his willing death on the cross, he rose from the dead. Not as some trick to prove that he was the Son of God, but to demonstrate that his love for us endures forever.
I asked Father Feliciene why it so difficult for me to trust God. And his answer let me know that I was in good company. He explained that because we are human, we struggle with trust daily, for the entirety of our lives. Our spiritual self knows that God loves us, but our human self sees the precarious rise and fall of our lives and causes us to ask, "Jesus, can I trust you?"
Father Feliciene provided a solution that I can fully embrace: we can overcome our doubts through ardent prayer. We can trust God, our obstacle is our own doubt. This doubt is not something we should expect to overcome with one prayer on one day. It is a continuous dialogue we have with God each day for the rest of our lives.
When, "Jesus, I trust in you," becomes our daily affirmation, our daily prayer we say in good times and when we feel as if our world is collapsing, we may finally accept that we are loved and we can trust in God's love no matter how our circumstances ebb and flow.
"Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all. Run to GOD! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor GOD with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don't, dear friend, resent GOD's discipline; don't sulk under his loving correction. It's the child he loves that GOD corrects; a father's delight is behind all this." (Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG)
Suzanne Anderson writes a weekly religion column for the Summit Daily News. She lives in Breckenridge.
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