Trust and belief go hand-in-hand. But which comes first? They are ancillary to each other. If you trust someone or something, do you also believe or do you gradually grow in faith/belief? Or if you believe in someone or some cause, do you automatically place your trust there? I do not know; we all develop this synergistic combination differently.
Today’s readings speak of both belief and trust. We know Abraham believed in the God of the covenant because he was preparing to offer God sacrifice. Abraham apparently also trusted God because he was prepared to make “the blind leap of faith” and sacrifice his only son Isaac. Is my/your faith that strong that we would trust God when he asked us for a similar but simpler personal sacrifice?
In the gospel, Matthew describes people bringing a paralytic to Jesus to be healed and he notes that “When Jesus saw their faith….” Jesus cured him. These people believed and trusted in Jesus because of what they saw him do or what they heard he had done. Either from first hand experience or hear-say, they came, they believed, and they trusted in Jesus. The passage ends: “…they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to men.”
I suspect most of you reading this reflection believe in God. But do you trust God? In your personal life or in your life in the Church, do you unconditionally trust God with those things, events and persons who are dear to you? This is a tough question and one worthy of reflection. Has your experience of God been such that you find God trustworthy? Is God someone in whom we can place our trust and rest assured that that trust will not be betrayed? It has been noted, “You will be hurt occasionally if you trust too much. This may be true, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough.”
This is a great observation for your reflection. Trusting is part of our higher nature. Doubting is a lower instinct, but one common in most of us. Doubting is easy to do, trust is more difficult—but so much more rewarding. Just ask Thomas, the “doubting” disciple, after meeting the risen Jesus.
It is in the soft whisperings from the heart that the thread of trust is found. Trust that voice and weave that thread of trust richly into the patterns of your life. Today’s psalm ends: “The house of Israel trusts in the Lord; he is their help and their shield.”
Abraham trusted God and was rewarded with a vast and blessed posterity. The paralytic trusted in Jesus and was healed. Israel trusted in the Lord and was protected. Just so what will your trust in the Lord Jesus, the creator God and the Spirit of God, yield for you? As mentioned above, doubting is easy to do, trust is more difficult—but so much more rewarding.
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