A guy in the parish, Chris, needed to see the Pastor. This wasn’t the first time this happened. When he got worked up about something, he would usually seek this priest’s advice.
It seemed that Chris was deeply worried that he might lose his job. His company was beginning a series of department reviews, and it was rumored that some could experience restructuring, which usually meant layoffs.
Chris shared all of this with his Pastor and told him how anxious he was getting and how he was not sleeping well. Chris ended his tale of woe with the words, “Father, please pray for me.” The priest said that he would.
The next day the priest gave Chris a call and said to him, “I’ve been praying about your situation, and here’s what I think the Lord is doing: ‘You are being asked to make a decision. Do you trust in God or not? In all of this God is asking you to trust in him and to grow from this experience of uncertainty.’ Both you and I know how much you dislike uncertainty. But this is not as much about what your bosses at work are up to as much as it is about God in your life and your relationship with him. I think the Lord is saying to you, “Make a choice to trust me and grow from this experience. Think of all the things that I have done for you in the past. Do you think I am going to abandon you now?” Believe it or not, this whole thing you’re going through right now is so that you will see more blessings! So, don’t waste your energy thinking that all you should do is worry and interpret everything that’s happening in a negative way. Trust in God. Really make an effort to do that!”
The Gospel today leads us to ask an important question: How much do I really trust in God? Am I going to abandon myself to the Lord, or do I really think that I am alone in my worries? Where do the answers lie, in myself or in God?
Chris still wasn’t convinced that God would take care of him, but the layers of resistance were slowly being peeled away. And the Lord does the same thing in our own lives—slowly peel away the layers of resistance. What we have to be careful of is not allowing ourselves to get discouraged. We should be praying with confidence.
We also have to realize that just because we think nothing is happening, that doesn’t mean God is not active in our life. When there are no consolations in prayer, that doesn’t mean our prayer has been a waste of time, or that we won’t receive an answer at some point.
Father Thomas Keating, a Trappist monk, has written many valuable spiritual books. In one of his books, called Crisis of Faith, Crisis of Love, he writes: “God loves you very much, but do not expect that he is going to be on the job the moment you have need of him. On the contrary, he appears not to be on the job. But he is on the job more than you think. He has things all planned in the back of his mind. He feigns disinterest. He ignores you for the moment. But that is the surest sign of something really wonderful about to happen.”