What does it mean to trust in God? It means believing that he is the greatest of all Fathers, and he will take care of you as all good fathers care for their children. It means that when bad things happen, he is there, caring for you, and leading you to safe pastures.
I don’t know about you, but I have this voice in my head that says God will protect me from evil. This concept is written throughout the Bible, and became ingrained in me at an early age. I even remember wondering why people didn’t follow a God who protected people.
Because of this, when bad things happen, there is this conflict within me. On the one hand, I intellectually know that evil exists in the world, and that bad things happen. The Bible, in addition to all of the wonderful words of protection, also illustrates that bad things happen. In fact, Jesus says, pick up your cross and follow me. This is not a promise of a rose garden.
The truth is, when we trust in God, he protects our immortality; he leads us to transformation and divine union with him. In the examples of some Saints, this divine union can happen sporadically through one’s life, but for most of us who do not persist in contemplative prayer, our experience of divine union will come in the next life. In other words, those who are on a more deliberate path of transformation through prayer and trust in God, will have glimpses of what waits for us in Heaven. For those of us who are a little more sporadic, we have the assurance that transformation is possible because of the examples set by some, and we persist in faith that the Beatific vision will be ours one day.
To trust in God means surrendering to him. Everything that happens in our lives is for our greater good. This is hard to accept, and we want to run from the pain and confusion caused by the not so good in our lives. When we stop running from these things, and pray things like – “Jesus, I surrender. I trust that this is for my long term good, and just ask that you be here with me through this” – it is then that we start to see his powerful works in and around us. We begin to see how much he loves us, and how much his all-knowingness has our best interest at heart.
I don’t know what burdens you are carrying today or what mental hangups might be causing your own internal confusion. I just know that you can trust him to lead you through it. You can find joy in the midst of the storm. Just spend a few minutes surrendering or praying for the grace to surrender. You may have to do this several times before you more fully loosen you’re control of the situation. Regardless of how well you actually surrender, he is still there, still comforting, still leading you to a better place both in your life and in your path to participating in the divine life of a God who loves you and blesses you.
(Examples of saints who have experienced some unity with God in this life – St. Theresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and St. Catherine of Siena).