Feelings of trust can swell in moments particularly touched by the Lord’s grace, power, wisdom, comfort, or love. The loyalty ignited by this encounter however can either burn out quickly like thin kindling or develop into embers so strong and hot that rather than going out, it ignites everything that touches it. These coals emerge however from walking with the Lord amidst the daily grind, from persevering with faithful trust through long periods of the ordinary, and especially long periods of struggle.
The Israelites followed God across the dried floor of the parted Red Sea, yet their relationship with the Lord did not climax at that moment, but rather only began. The weakness of their trust in God, and the need for it to be grown through patient perseverance, would be shown in the desert.
At one point, when they had reached the limits of their faith, and they “tested the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD in our midst or not?” (Exodus 17:7), God mercifully provided a visible sign of His presence and providence by quenching their thirst with miraculous water from a rock.
God can do anything. We can put our trust in His ability to transform us and those we love, no matter how long it takes. St. Paul offers us the encouragement that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6), and “ We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
Jesus assures us that with even the smallest seed of faith mountains can be moved. “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. (Matthew 17:20).
Yet, we often imagine this happening within tidy time frames. It’s so hard to wait. Especially when it means waiting on someone else. But do we trust God or not?
In the Lord’s mercy, He refreshes us along the way with reminders of His continued knowledge of our need, that He is in fact in our midst, and that He’s still leading us along the narrow way. If you are struggling to wait with patience, ask the Lord for a touch of His grace. It’s okay to pray, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:34).
This is the purpose of Lent. It draws us into the desert where we discover the truth of our weakness. Rather than giving up in discouragement, just ask God for help. “Jesus, I can’t do this, I need your grace.” He will provide it. Christ doesn’t wait for us to be perfect, He comes to help us while we are still imperfect. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Hopefully as we experience His help in moments of weakness regarding small things like our Lenten commitments to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, our trust in Him will grow so that when we experience greater trials like the Cross, we will confidently turn to Him again, relying on His grace to bring us through the Cross to the Resurrection. Love always wants to help, and “God is Love” (1 John 4:8).
Sunday Scripture Readings for the 3rd Sunday of Lent
© 2023 Angela M Jendro
Scripture verses are from the Revised Standard Version