“Those who know your name trust in you; you never forsake those who seek you, Lord.” Psalm 9:11
In these dark times, it is easy to slip into despair, feel hopeless, and wonder where God is in all this mess that is in the world we live in. That is what the devil wants us to do. He wants us to believe that God doesn’t care, that we are alone, and worthless.
But we must fight against these despairing thoughts, which cause us to be frozen in fear, or dejection. They keep us from doing the good things we are meant to do. Fear and despair can cause us to give up…on God, on life, and on our own self worth. The devil wants to cause this in order to steal our joy.
And when we lose our joy, it means we have lost trust.
Our Lord said to Saint Faustina, “The thing that glorifies me most is a soul that trusts in my goodness.”
If we know and believe that God is good, then we know that everything that he allows to happen will lead to good. We know how it all ends, God wins! Still when we are fighting the day to day battles, or sufferings and trials assail us, it is hard to see that the war has been won.
How do we keep from losing our joy, and slipping into those despairing thoughts?
When we have a relationship with someone we trust, it is because we really know that person. We know and trust that they want and will do what is good for us. It is the same with God, and the way we get to really know God is through prayer, deep prayer. We get to that place of prayer, which is actually a gift from God, by taking small steps, building on it, and not giving up on it. In other words, all it takes is for us to begin, and keep trying, and then God will take over.
The Rosary, a repetition of prayers, combined with a short meditation from the life of Jesus, is a wonderful way to grow in prayer. The passing of the beads through our fingers, and the quiet background of repeated prayers can help to quiet the mind, while we begin to focus on the events in Jesus’ life. While meditating on these mysteries, God helps us to “see”. He gives us many insights into them which make them relevant to our lives now. We understand more and more the goodness of God. This leads to an interior movement of the heart towards God in love, and that is where God really takes over, and the exchange of love and trust begins.
Adam and Eve’s sin began when they lost trust in God. And this wounded trust lingers in us. To regain what was lost, we must reach out to God in faith. When we reach out to God in faith, then we get to know Him, and not only love Him, but fall in love with Him. And once this relationship of trust is reconciled, we will find true peace.
“Now that we have been justified by faith, we are at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have gained access by faith to the grace in which we now stand, and we boast of our hope for the glory of God. But not only that—we even boast of our afflictions! We know that affliction makes for endurance, and endurance for tested virtue, and tested virtue for hope. And this hope will not leave us disappointed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5
Trust and Jump!
The other way I have found to grow in trust, is to just face my fear, tell the Lord that I trust Him, and jump. When I was a Confirmation Catechist, it was arranged for our class to go to a beautiful retreat place. It had challenging physical activities combined with lessons in faith. Something called “the swing” was one of the featured, (or dreaded) activities.
After being harnessed and secured with ropes, I was to jump off a 30 ft. high platform and swing out over a cliff! Now, I have a healthy fear of heights, (not to mention being swung out over cliffs). And so this was NOT something I planned to do. Several of the kids in the class were afraid too. They said, “If you do it, Mrs. Beach, we will do it!” I wanted them to learn about trust, and to not be afraid, which was the point of the lesson. This seemed like a good way to “show” them. So I did it. Crazy, right?
“They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings…”
Yes, it was really terrifying at first! But then, after my 2nd or 3rd swing over the cliff, I began to breathe again. Trusting the security of the harness, and the people holding the ropes, I soared.
I was soaring!!
I know you are wondering….did the scared kids jump after me?
NO, they didn’t!! And did I give them grief about it too!
But it was okay, because that turned into a life lesson for me! And it was one that I recalled many times over. Especially when I knew the Lord was asking me to do something, or accept something, and I felt afraid, I remembered. I know that I can trust my Father in heaven who has delighted in and loved me from the beginning. So, when I turn my thoughts to the goodness of the Father, I picture him with open arms. Then, trusting like a child, I jump.
“How great is your goodness, Lord, stored up for those who fear you. You display it for those who trust you, in the sight of the children of Adam.” Psalm 31:20