We must have a firm, solid, staunch, faith and trust in God in all times, places and circumstances. If our faith and trust in God is never put to the test by the fire of trials and tribulations, then it usually does not grow. In nature, plants and trees that have weathered the inclement climate of strong winds, raging tempests, rain, sleet and snow will be the most robust when future inclement weather descends.
Similarly, with the follower of Christ, trials, tribulations, afflictions, contradictions, sufferings, and setbacks can serve to fortify and to make robust one’s interior life.
In the midst of the turmoil and tempests that we all experience, we must fervently beg for hope and trust in God now more than ever. It is proven in nature that in the middle of the tornado there is actually calm—calm in the eye of the tornado. In the midst of the sea storm, in the depths of the sea there is a real calmness and tranquility. It should be likewise in our personal spiritual lives. At the same time, we have to guard against a tendency toward laziness, complacency, and even lukewarmness that can visit all of us in our spiritual lives. God does not want tepidity and mediocre followers. Quite the contrary, God most ardently desires fire, fervor, and passion in our hearts towards Him.
This being the scenario, what are some potent reasons for depositing our hope and trust in God.
1. GOD’S OMNIPRESENT PROVIDENTIAL CARE. Even in the midst of the most difficult situations that can occur in the world, God is always present. God never ceases to exist or be present to us. Quite the contrary! Saint Paul quoting the Greek poet states: “In God we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) Jesus says the Heavenly Father loves us so much that He actually has you and me in His loving hand, and nobody can snatch us from the loving hand of the Eternal Father. (Jn. 10:29)
2. GOD LOVES US AND PUTS US TO THE TEST. If God really loves us, which He certainly always does, He puts us to the test, like Abram who was tested to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. (Gen. 22: 1-19) Also, Jesus tested Peter by sending him out with the other Apostles in the boat to cross the lake at night against their will. (Mt.14. 22-33) Then Jesus came walking on the waters and challenged Saint Peter to come to Him walking on the waters. Leaving the comfort of the boat, Peter actually did walk on the waters of Lake Galilee, at least for a short time, until he started to lose heart and sink. Why did Peter sink? The response to that question is the response to our own many questions, doubts, and fears: Peter lifted his eyes, his gaze from the Person and the eyes of Jesus—and he started to sink. Our problem is very simple! Instead focusing our eyes on the Problem-solver—that is Jesus our Lord, God, and Savior—we focus on the problem. When we focus more on the problem than on the Problem-solver then we sink in the tumultuous waves of our own fears, doubts, and insecurities. Therefore, in the midst of the many tempestuous and earth shaking events that we experience—and there are often more than one—let us remember to focus less on the problem and more on the Problem-solver: Jesus our Lord, God, and Savior!
3. LORD SAVE ME! When Peter was quickly sinking beneath the waves he cried out: “Lord, save me!” Jesus stretched out his hand, gently rebuking Peter for his lack of faith, and lifted Peter out from under the surging waves. Then with Jesus at his side, Peter continued to walk on water until he reached the boat, entered the boat with Jesus, and the boat arrived safely and securely at the shore with speed and graceful ease! Like Peter, when it seems as if the world is caving in upon us from all different sides, angles, and situations, then we must cry out with all of our heart, and with dauntless faith: LORD, SAVE ME!!! The gentle voice of Jesus will be heard in your heart and His gentle but firm and loving Hand will save you from drowning in the surging waves of your many doubts, fears, and insecurities. What a short but powerful prayer: LORD, SAVE ME!
4. THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD, THERE IS NOTHING I SHALL LACK. (PSALM 23) Another enormous Lifesaver in the midst of the earthquakes, storms, and tornadoes of the human drama is the beautiful, consoling, comforting prayer, Psalm 23—the Psalm of the Good Shepherd. Probably the most known and loved of all of the 150 Psalms, the Psalm of the Good Shepherd can prove to be a real Lifesaver! When you are cast into a deep state of desolation and it seems as if life can be compared to a dark, damp, dreary, endless and depressing tunnel, why not leave the tunnel by opening your Bible to the passage of the Good Shepherd—Psalm 23. Very calmly, very slowly, very prayerfully read this passage, once, twice, or even three times. Allow the words of this beautiful Psalm through a real spiritual osmosis to penetrate, permeate, and absorb your whole being. Then allow one of the words or concepts to captivate and enthrall your heart; relish that word; repeat it and allow it to fill you with a peace and joy that surpasses all understanding. “The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall lack.” Maybe these are the words that touch you most. With these words there is no need to fear because the Good Shepherd takes me to green pastures and nourishes my soul!
5. MOTHER OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. Finally, when surrounded by an atmosphere of gloom and doom, we must lift up our eyes, our mind, and our heart to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Many are the encouraging titles for Mary, titles that can really lift our spirits: Mary is our life, our sweetness, and our hope; the Star of the Sea amidst the storms; the Cause of our Joy; the Gate to Heaven; Mother of Hope and Consolation. Many more are the titles of Mary, our Mother. However, why not turn to Mary in her Motherly, loving presence at the Wedding Feast of Cana. (Jn. 2:1-12) The couple ran out of wine for their guests. To alleviate this embarrassing situation, Mary first turns to Jesus, and then she says to the servers: “Do whatever He tells you!” Miracle! Water transformed into wine, but the best of all wines through the power of Jesus and the Maternal presence of Mary and the power of her intercession. Therefore, in the midst of your fears, doubts, insecurities, sadness, and many questions, lift up your mind, your heart and soul to Mary and beg her to turn to Jesus who will transform your water into the most splendid and exquisite wine. If you trust in Mary, it will indeed happen!