This morning's homily from our deacon has been in my head all day. The central question was "Do you trust God?" We had two stories of widows in the Scriptures today: the story of the widow of Zarapeth and the widow in the temple. Both find themselves in difficult straights. We know nothing of the widow in the temple other than she gave two small copper coins, all she had, as a thanksgiving offering to God. The widow of Zarapeth, we know, has a child. They have been hit hard by a famine brought on by a drought. She has enough food left for a small meal for the two of them after which she has consigned herself that her and her son will die of hunger after this last meal. Elijah, after being told of her plan, tells her if she will instead give him a small meal, that God would provide for her and her son. Think of what he ask: Please give me the last of your food and God will provide for you. What faith she has in doing it! God follows though on the promise. The same with the widow in the temple: what an act of faith she makes in trusting God's care for her even if she is willing to give what little she has left as an thanksgiving offering. These stories litter Scripture: trust in God and live.
That's awful hard though. It certainly is counter intuitive. In a world that tells us that we get out of live what we take and what we control, trusting in something we cannot see seems foolhardy. Anti-theist will mock it as blind foolishness in a sky fairy. We will be told to be practical and self-preserving.
However, we have to dig a bit deeper. Not only does God want to be trusted, a curse is laid upon those who won't. He lets them trust in other things. The other things always let them down. The people of Israel were told to trust in God for their sustenance and safety. When they did, things went well. When they didn't, things collapsed. When they people of Israel trusted in God their kingdom became strong. When they started to trust in other gods, wealth, military alliances, and power, things deteriorated and collapsed. Their false gods could not save them. Their wealth made them targets. Their military alliances turned on them.
Look to our own age. We are taught to trust science, power, wealth, and self-determination. Anything of God that is trusted is roundly mocked by the elites; the same elites who will blame the failure of these very things on God or proof the God doesn't exist. The world routinely mocks sexual abstinence and lauds promiscuity (with birth control of course...because birth control will save us!). However if people trusted God in the use of their sexuality the scourges of STD's would almost non-existent, abortion almost non-existent, the scourge of pornography as well...not to mention that relationships would be greatly strengthened and divorce increasingly rare. We are told now to accept cohabitation as the new norm. Facts be damned as far as to the long term damage done! Well meaning people trusted and got burned. We trusted the world and human life and dignity got massively cheapened, family life collapsed, and a plethora of diseases killed, permanently maimed, sterilized, or harmed millions.
We are taught, above all, to trust in our own desires. If my desires are strangely oriented towards the help of other, then good for you. However if my desires are towards accumulation of wealth, power, and honor for me, then good for me. To delude ourselves into trusting such, a thick layering of bogus self-esteem is lathered. What we end with are angry individuals, precious snowflakes, unable to operate. If they are able to operate, they accumulate and consume like locusts never finding a lasting satisfaction.
If we think about 99% of the problems we have and this world has, is it not a direct result of trusting in those 'sensible' things instead of God? God doesn't want us to trust him because he is on some divine ego trip; he wants us to trust Him so he can provide for us. Unlike the nonsense espoused by charlatans in the health and wealth gospel (neither of which God promises), God gives us what we need even if it isn't what we want.
So many young men refuse to even entertain the possibility of priesthood because of the immense amount of trust required. So many young women don't entertain religious life for the same reason. So many young couples don't trust God and cohabitate, injecting a venom into their relationship which more often than not will kill it. This lack of trust does not serve us well. Furthermore, it doesn't have to be this way!
God doesn't ask us to trust him so that he may destroy us. He doesn't ask us to trust him so as to watch us suffer. He asks us to trust Him as an acknowledgement that He loves us and that nothing of this world can offer more than He can. Whether that lack of trust comes in withholding the thanksgiving sacrifice, compromising with our sexuality, running away from a vocation, we need to stop running and start trusting. We will never know until we start to trust. If the world has a problem with that, tough! What the world wants from you is to use you not love you.
These are things rolling around my mind right now. Do I trust God? Completely? What holds me back? What ill-fated alliances am I making as a back up plan? What compromises do I make? All food for spiritual thought and prayer.