Is it so difficult to trust in the Lord?
When, in the Book of Genesis, God directs Abram to go forth from the land of his kinsfolk, God is making an extraordinary, even unthinkable request, yet Abram says yes, abandoning all that gives him identity, allowing God to endow him with a new identity: I will make of you a great nation, God promises. Abram believes what the psalmist will later sing in Psalm 33: Upright is the word of the Lord, and all his works are trustworthy. God gives us every reason to trust in God’s promise – why is it so hard for us to do so?
In Matthew’s Gospel, the directive to trust takes a new form on Mount Tabor, where Jesus is transfigured before Peter, James and John. This is my beloved Son… Listen to him comes a voice from the cloud. God’s directive is a call to trust in Jesus, yet the disciples remain fearful; it is only when Jesus touches them and says, Rise, and do not be afraid, that they are able to move forward. They will be slow to learn that the trust they should have put in God, they should also put in Jesus himself, though they do not yet fully recognize his divinity, in spite of the theophany on the mountain.
For fear is not where faith leads. Early Christian leaders, too, struggled with a lack of faith, failing to trust the good news of salvation, failing to recognize God’s work in them. In Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy, the elder apostle exhorts the young man to remember that we have been called from a life of sin to a life of grace, but we must put our confidence in the God who works through us and in us… even if it means – especially if it means – entering into the suffering and death of Jesus in order to join him in resurrection. He saved and called us to a holy life, Paul writes.
Imagine: if we were to place our trust absolutely in Jesus,
in his words, in his presence, in what he speaks to our hearts
– what might our lives look like then?
This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture class.
Image source: Wordle