Trust God

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Beloved in Jesus Christ, today we encounter in the gospel – that magnificent scene of Jesus walking on the water. The apostles had been out all night in the boat; it was very early in the morning. The winds had come up unexpectedly, a frequent occurrence at the Sea of Galilee. Suddenly, these apostles see something, someone, walking on the water? an apparition? what is it? then comes the familiar voice: “Have courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Jesus, walking on the top of the water.
.
Now while they are still in disbelief, from among them, Peter suddenly blurts out: “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you.” ‘Are you mad Peter? What are you doing?’ He slips his foot down onto the waves; set’s his sandal there, and his weight on it – His feet press against the water as if it were solid ground, he’s standing. Now such a thing had never been seen in the history of the world. But they are seeing it.
‘Lord, command me to come to you.’ And he said, “Come.”
.
Friends, we wish to speak today about trust in Jesus, confidence[i] in the Lord. In one sense, we might say that trust in God equals worship.[ii] Without trust, there can be no real, living Faith, because living Faith inevitably leads to trust. How can a person say, ‘I have faith in the Lord,’ but I don’t completely trust him. If we had total confidence in God, we would never worry.
.
Trust in God means a child-like simplicity. We see little children asleep in their mother’s arms carrying them around in the in the store, and they are completely at ease. Many wish to become holy, but do not attain it, because of a lack of confidence in God.
.
There is an expression which is often said: ‘I am so worried about this, I just have to give it over to God.’ People say this: ‘I know, I just have to put it in God’s hands.’ So our conscience is telling us this, to trust in God. We say: ‘Lord, I put this problem into your hands’ – yet we do not feel the peace. We go on worrying, and we try to control the situation, to make it turn out the way we want.
.
I was listening to a talk by Fr. Thomas Richter.[iii] He says, that we often pray in order to get God to agree to give us things. ‘Lord, please give us a sunny day for the family reunion.’ We get sunshine, God complied with our request, and then we sort of forget about him, until the next need arises. This is really to make the Lord a dispenser of favors, our prayers try to control him, because controlling everything is what we want, we wish to be self-reliant.
.
A person will say, ‘My brother is getting a test to see if he has Leukemia, we’re praying that he doesn’t. We are putting our trust in God.’ So here is the question: What is meant by ‘trust in God?’ Do we mean that we have confidence that he won’t have Leukemia? Is this confidence in God? not really. This is why we keep worrying.
.
Total trust in God means, that we believe he hears our prayer, that God loves us, and that whatever his plan is, without question, it will be for the best; and then we have peace, even if he has Leukemia, because we trust him.
.
St. Polycarp was being pursued by those who hated Christians; he wanted God to protect him from capture, and he even hid himself. But he was captured. Yet when the solders found him – they found him at complete peace; he even offered them a meal. So was the gruesome martyrdom that he went through, a failure of his prayer? Had his confidence in God been misplaced? no God wanted him to be a martyr, and this was a greater thing.
.
Confidence in God means that we want what he wants. Trust in God means embracing his plan today, accepting with peace, his plan, today. It has to do with that little phrase we say in the Our Father: ‘Thy will be done.’
.
Some people think that being a Christian means that we will use prayer to get every cross out of our life. But Jesus says that to be a Christian is to take up your cross!
The truth is, we all have some-thing or some-one in our life that is a real cross for us. Something. We probably pray and anguish, the most about that. Let’s think right now, about that one thing or one person. If we had a magic wand, and could make that one problem in our life go away – an illness, our boss, a child’s lapse from the faith, a sinful past; my poor head for arithmetic;
it could be a co-worker who tries us, or a relative; or if my spouse just wasn’t – ‘that way;’ if only THAT, would be taken away, our life would be SO beautiful.
.
Well, deep down we all know: this THING in our life, is no doubt exactly the thing by which Jesus wants us to find holiness. This is where complete trust in Jesus must be found.
We spend our life trying to get rid of our big cross, but it is in precisely in this, by which God wants to teach us to abandon ourselves into his Providence.
.
People who want to manipulate God, this is their relationship to him – when they don’t get that job they prayed for, or the cure they asked for, they can become bitter or angry: ‘I tried trusting God, but he did not come through.’ This is trying to get God to do what we want, but really, we are supposed to be embracing what God wants! Peter walked on the water as long as he trusted Jesus. But when he stopped trusting, he sank. ‘Oh ye of little faith!,’ says the Lord. Well, we need more trust ourselves.
.
Think of a 5-year old child who can’t sleep, tossing and turning; he is worrying about how to pay the electric bill; and how he will do all the shopping for the family tomorrow, and pay his older brother’s college tuition, big problems. He tells another boy how stressed out he is: But that boy says, ‘my parents do all that!’
.
In reality, we are MORE dependent on God than that 5-year old. We have to put our confidence in the Lord, and not worry. We can’t control everything at all. When things are not the way we want them, this is where grace wants to come in. Being a true Christian means to stop hating hardship, but accepting it, so that we can grow. ‘When I am weak, then I am strong,’ says St. Paul.
.
St. Paul prayed to God: He had something, that was a thorn in his side. ‘3 times I asked God to take it away. But God said, no. My grace is sufficient for you.’ St. Paul had to learn to embrace that thorn in his life, whatever it was, and to trust God.
Some think it was a temptation of the flesh which kept coming back to him. it is often found that temptation is conquered precisely by confidence in God.
.
Those struggling against a sinful habit or addiction know that it is imperative, that at the first moment of temptation one must make an act of total confidence in God. ‘Lord help me, without you I will fall, but with you I will conquer. Father Faber[iv] says, a person who has been tested a lot by temptation is always someone with a lot of trust in God. No one can walk on water except Jesus Christ; so what about Peter? Peter had the Spirit of Christ in him. When we become worried about what is not in our control, that’s against the spirit of Jesus.
.
‘I can do all things in he who strengthens me.’ There, that’s St. Paul. That’s confidence in God. The same St. Paul says ‘God is faithful, he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, He will give you the way to bear it.'[v]
.
Often we wish to pray, ‘Jesus, take this storm away from me;’ We can go through life asking God to take away everything that makes us dependent on him – or we can trust him.
.
Confidence in God, is true worship. It shows real, living Faith.
Our trust must be bold and it must be total.
Then God can have his way with us in the storm.
.
Mary trusted God more than anyone. ‘Let it be done unto me, according to your word.’ Help us Mary, to put our total trust in Jesus, Our Savior,
come what may.

.

[Entrusted to the prayers of St. Teresa of Avila]

 

[i] See ‘Interior Freedom’ by Jacques Philippe for a great deal more on this subject.

[ii] See his conference ‘Confidence is the only Worship,’ in father Faber’s Spiritual Conferences.

[iii] Portions of this homily are from the talk on CD: ‘Trust in the Lord,’ by Fr. Thomas Richter, Lighthouse Media.

[iv] Spiritual Conferences, Faber. See his chapter: ‘Confidence, the Only Worship.’

[v] 1 Cor 10:13

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation