On my annual retreat this year, one of the themes was how much I need a rescuer. I’ve written about that on the blog here. The Lord was speaking into my heart: to stay little, to get rid of my excess provisions, what I think I need, and to rely on God and not on myself. I could readily assent to this — in theory.
But soon, God gave me an opportunity to put it into practice.
The last few weeks have brought a trial that I know God was preparing me for in my retreat. It involves a weighty business issue that has caused me a lot of anxiety and concern, and I have to admit that I was not putting my trust in God. When I went to confession, the priest said, “We all need to grow in trust of God and a very important prayer to help us in this is, “Jesus, I trust in You.” For my penance, he had me go kneel before the Divine Mercy image there in the church and say that prayer a few times, and then to keep praying that prayer throughout the week.
I took his advice to heart and clung anew to those words, saying often, “Jesus, I trust in You. Jesus, I trust in You.” But fighting back the worry and anxiety was a constant battle.
One night I lay awake, tossing and turning, feeling weighed down with what I was carrying. I called out to Our Blessed Mother asking her for help — that this was too big for me, that I needed her help, and to please give me the graces to get through this trial in a way that was pleasing to God, in a way that strengthened my faith and trust in God.
At that point, I had a very clear flashback to the image I prayed with a lot on my retreat, of the boys caught in the cave in Thailand. I recalled how they were stranded, and how they were completely dependent on outside help — on having rescuers come to them. I prayed, “God, I cannot extricate ourselves from this mess. Only You can do it. And I allow myself to be rescued by You. I put it all in Your hands.” I felt my body relax, and within a few minutes, I was fast asleep.
The trial continues to unfold, and it’s not over yet, but I see very clear ways that God is giving us the help that we need.
I’ve realized again how easy it is to have these rich prayer images and insights and to think we trust God when things are going smoothly. But when the trials come and the storm winds blow, it is a lot harder to put those lessons into practice and still cling to faith.
None of us like trials. We instinctively recoil from them and try to escape them. And when we can’t escape, we try to distract ourselves to the point of numbness sometimes, so that we don’t have to deal with them. But it is precisely in the hard times that our faith is strengthened and proved, and we learn in a more profound way how trustworthy God is.
“In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
The Lord is telling me, “Face this head on. Keep your eyes fixed on Me, not on the waves, and I will pull you out of the rough water. I will rescue you. Trust in Me.”