4 Minutes 4 Hard Times – Trust like Jesus

            Welcome back to 4 Minutes 4 Hard Times. Over the last few weeks we’ve looked at aspects of difficult times: worry, fear, gratitude, necessary losses, and money concerns.

 (1 minute version)

            In this  final Lenten post I’d like to consider Holy Week and what we can learn from studying Jesus as he faced his own “hard times.” We start with his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey and being hailed as “King of the Jews.” The crowd and the apostles held high expectations for this king, that he would overthrow the Roman conquerors and lead the people to wealth and power. Only a few days later those expectations were crushed, their hope crucified.

            During the final hours before his death, Jesus wept in the garden, pled with his Father to let there be another way, suffered betrayal by a loved one, was wrongly accused, was abandoned by all his followers, and felt forsaken by God. He was stripped, beaten, and humiliated.

             He responded to these challenges with trust when he committed to follow his Father’s will rather than his own, accepted his abuse without retaliation, confirmed his identity, promised redemption to the criminal who testified to his innocence, gave his mother into a friend’s care, forgave us all, and—demonstrating his unending love—commended his spirit into his Father’s hands.

            Let’s look at that final act. He commended himself into his Father’s care. Even while suffering to the point of death, he trusted his Father. Isn’t that the ultimate answer to how we need to respond to difficult times? His trust enabled him to follow, accept, forgive, and love. Placing our trust in God will do the same for us.

             “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)


(3 minutes more)

             It all comes down to how we answer some “meaning of life” questions:

  •  Do you really believe God loves you, and is in fact Love itself?
  •  Do you believe God is all-powerful? (Including able to forgive anything?)
  •   Do you trust God?

            If we profess God’s love and power, why don’t we trust him completely, even when things go bad? I think we expect God to keep things going as we want them to go. When our expectations (like the Jerusalem crowd’s) are not met, we are tempted to doubt his love and doubt that he wants what is best for us. We become angry with God. We forget that God knows, better than we do, what is best. When Jerusalem wanted power in this world, Jesus was offering them an heir’s inheritance in the next. When we want health and happiness, he may be helping us grow in depth and holiness.

             God longs for us to trust him. Not a problem in good times. Not so easy when challenges crush our spirits. But he treasures our trust in those times, especially. Much of the Bible (if not all) is written to encourage us to trust in God.

             We read about Abraham’s willingness to trust God, “And he believed the Lord, and God counted it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)

             Jeremiah, the prophet, writes, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

            David, the psalmist, knew all the rewards that come from trusting God: “In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them”. (Psalm 22:4)

 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. (Psalm 28:7)

 “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” (Psalm 37:5)

“In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:4)

            The entire New Testament is an account from Jesus of how much our Heavenly Father loves us and is anxious to forgive us. How even the sparrow doesn’t fall without God knowing and caring. The night Jesus would be betrayed he said to his apostles, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” (John 14:1) He continued, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27)

             Jesus knew what was coming and his final words before his arrest were words of comfort for his apostles and for us. He didn’t want us to be troubled by things of this world. He wanted us to trust him and his Father. To trust the way he trusted.

             Even recent saints received messages from God, reminding us to trust in him. The Sunday after Easter is celebrated as the Feast of Divine Mercy. St. Faustina began this special devotion to Jesus’ message, “that His Love and Forgiveness is greater than our sins. All He asks is that we trust in Him, ask for and accept His Mercy, and then let Mercy work through us to help others. He also wants us to be merciful, loving, compassionate, and forgiving to others.”

             Like the gospel command, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful,” this demand that we show mercy to our neighbors “always and everywhere” seems impossible to fulfill. But the Lord assures us that it is possible. “When a soul approaches Me with trust,” He explains, “I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls. (St. Faustina’s Diary, 1074).

             None of us want to hear platitudes when we are troubled. Yet, saying “In God we trust,” is not a cliché. Those words hold the depth of wisdom.

             Trust your troubles to God. Each night give your cares to him. He loves you and will be with you through every evil time. He promised he will cause all things to work together for good, for you who love him.

Blessings on your Holy Week.

Betty Arrigotti

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