Trusting in God is not easy!! I was reminded about this the other day when I was talking to one of my daughters about a problem I was having. She said to me, "Mom, why are you worrying about the situation. Worrying will not change the outcome". This made no sense to me at all because worrying is the thing I do best. Today I would like to reflect on the words of John, in today's reading to help me remember that although trusting in God is difficult, it can be done.
John said some wonderful things in today's Gospel. Jesus told the disciples "Do not let your heart be troubled or afraid. I am going away and I will come back to you". Can you imagine what the disciples thought? They had been through some very difficult weeks after Jesus was crucified. They did not know what had happened because they did not know the full implications of his death. They did not know that the Holy Spirit was going to come and be a Comforter to the people. We know that Pentecost happened and that there is the Holy Spirit alive in our lives that can help us.
Trust in God begins at an early age. When we are just babies our parents represented God's love by feeding us regularly, nurturing us, and creating an atmosphere where security was all around us. If children have not been nurtured well there is sometimes a lack of trust in the child's world. Sometimes in our lives we have had some very difficult situations that have brought us anger and hurt. If we have not had people around us that have come to our aid, the situation of distrust will remain. That behooves us to remain vigilant to the situations of others so we can offer support and help. It sometimes seems like a never ending job. Support and help and physical labor was evident in the aftermath of the Boston bombings. People came together to offer aid, money, caring, and a whole range of support that reminded people that God will take care of us in all things. We do not have to be afraid or troubled all of the time.
Luckily we do not have to have such tremendous disasters as the bombing to have our faith in God strengthened. I have found that if I write down or think about my blessings every day, I remember as I read backwards in my journal, that God has really been with me. It is not easy to always trust in God. Sometimes I have to do breathing exercises or just repeat the mantra, Jesus, be with me. Sometimes we also have to go farther back in our memories to remind ourselves that God has been there with us in the past. So, if God has been with us in past, God will be with us in the future.
By nature we can be worriers if children are involved. Some people may have had an easier time than others. When the family sat down for dinner my grandfather always ate first. I remember that my Grandma, Annie, had a trap door in the middle of her kitchen floor. I was in awe when she opened up the door and I could see what was down there. She and my grandfather were quite poor. She filled that root cellar with vegetables she had canned, bags of potatoes and apples, the family needed to last the winter. I remember her saying that just when she was worried she would run out of food; she would look into her root cellar and she would see something she could feed the family. She trusted that God would take care of her five children and God did.
I read an article written recently by Sister Joan Chittister in the National Catholic
Reporter that can give a better indication of the ways women are particularly affected by lack of trust in God, poverty and sexism in the world and the church.
She writes: "two-thirds of the hungry of the world are women who get only the leftovers after their husband and children have eaten; two-thirds of the illiterate of the world are women enslaved by their lack or education as the chattel of men; two-thirds are the poorest of the poor, according to UN statistics, are women. And all of them are ignored, rejected and omitted even in language and the official theological development of the church. (meaning what stories are told of women in the Gospels, gender inclusive language in the church, and lack of inclusion of the decision making and sacraments of the church)... It is simply impossible to be really committed to the poor and not devote yourself to doing something to change the role and status of women in the world."
Yet it is the women of world, with men, that give courage and hope and trust in God to their children. Trust in God can be nurtured through our daily experiences with others. Telling of the wonderful things God has done in our lives is a good way to tell your story of God working in your life. Each of us comes from a different family of origin, a different perspective on money and education and different expectations of what God can and will do in our life. We all have to work hard to help others see that there can be hope when no hope is seen. We all need to remember the times God has given us the things we and our children have needed things. We all need to be grateful to the God in John's gospel who says:
Do not let your hearts be troubled. I have told you this so you will believe.