A few days ago, I wrote about trust, and a part of that writing was about how my trust in God is flawed, that my declarations of trust are all too often followed by a “but…”
Grace provides us the nudge to pray about those things we need help with, and that alone should impel us to a more perfect trust in God. Certainly I felt the nudge to pray about this over the last several days, and I even found my prayer taking a somewhat different form. I found myself asking God to deepen my trust in Him, and to help me get past the boundaries and roadblocks I seemed to place on my level of trust.
Now, I didn’t ask directly for a sign that my prayer was heard. I’m a little like Ahaz in the 7th chapter of Isaiah. Ahaz, when instructed by God Himself to ask for a sign from God, responded, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the Lord!” And if I’m really, really honest, that attitude carries a lot of false humility. When God Himself invites you, you shouldn’t duck and cover. You should stand up and run, not walk, into His arms.
God chose, I think, to show me some things over the past day or so that would help me learn to trust Him more deeply and more fully, and I’m finding myself full of wonder and awe at how He works.
Here’s what happened. As things came up throughout the day, I actually remembered to pray about them. And three things happened that still have me shaking my head and smiling.
First, I had been notified that it was time to turn in my leased car and get a new one. Exciting, right? Except that I really hate the process. You go and sit at the dealership for hours while they parade cars in front of you, and the first few they tell you all the reasons you won’t really like them, and then they finally bring out the one they really want to sell you. And then the haggling begins, and I really hate the haggling part, so I usually don’t end up with the best deal I could get, because I just want to get it over with. So with a sigh, I set up an appointment with the salesperson, and my wonderful daughter and son-in-law agreed to go with me as support, so I wouldn’t cave too early in the process, and then it occurred to me that it wouldn’t hurt at all to ask God to be with me and guide me through the process. So I did.
I do not make this stuff up, people. Less than 30 minutes after I prayed about this, my salesperson called with a couple of questions about what I was looking for. A few text messages, a couple more phone calls, and some pictures, and what do you know? I had a lease deal in front of me that was so good that I gave my daughter and son-in-law their Saturday back. All I have to do on Saturday is go to the dealership, sign papers, make the exchange, and drive home in my new car.
I got way more than I asked for. I thought I was asking for patience to deal with the whole process, and I got so much more.
And I even received the grace to pray an immediate “Thank You” afterward.
In the immortal words of classic television: “But wait! There’s more!”
Late in the day yesterday, as I retrieved a couple of documents I needed from my little lockbox, it occurred to me that my passport should have been in there. And it wasn’t. There is no one so obsessed as I am when I can’t find something. My quest began, but all the places I would normally put something of that nature were barren, empty. And as I began thinking about the less obvious places, I prayed, “OK, St. Anthony, I’m going to need a little help here.” (We Catholics dearly love our ability to call on our saints when we need a boost. St. Anthony of Padua is the patron saint of lost articles, and as I age, I have more and more occasion to call on him for help.)
Did I mention that I don’t make this stuff up? I looked at the shelf just below my lock box, and there was a wallet that I had stopped using a few months ago when I found a better one. I picked it up and opened it, and there was my passport. Right next to a crisp $20 bill.
Again, I received so much more than I asked for. I was so startled that I said, “Well, thank you!” right out loud. I put the passport where it belonged; likewise, the $20. It’s going to be donated later today when I find the right spot for it.
My mind put those two events together right away, but God wasn’t quite done with me. He wanted, I think, to make sure I was picking up what He was putting down, as they say. So this morning, as I was going out the back door to go to Mass, I hit the wrong button on the remote control for my security system, and I set off the panic alarm. It’s not the first time this has happened, so I knew what was coming. With one hand, I used the button to turn off the alarm, and with the other I reached for my phone. The call from the alarm company was coming through before I even got the phone out of my purse. We went through our conversation — “We received a panic alarm, is everything OK? …. Good, glad you are OK, may I have your name and password?” Done, and done.
Like I said, it’s not the first time I hit the wrong button and sent an alarm by mistake. But what I knew, and what my actions demonstrated, was that the guys at the other end of that system were going to do what they said they would do — call and offer protection. If something bad was happening, help would be on the way. If everything was OK, we both get on about our business. Simple.
That’s when it all really clicked. That’s when I began to see how trust really works in my relationship with God. He’s always there. No matter what happens, even when the problem is of my own making, He’s always there to offer help and protection. He’s going to have the answer when I’m in trouble, and He’s going to be glad right along with me when it’s all OK.
What God showed me over the past day or so was that I don’t need to put conditions or limits on my trust. When I think I need to do that, those thoughts are not coming from my loving Father. He’s telling me that this is personal with Him and that He’s not only going to give me what I need, He’s going to give me a whole lot more.
Dear Father God, I am sitting here in a state of wonder and awe at the way You care for me and love me. You show me again and again how You are everything I need, and with the grace You give me I say to You now, I trust You, Father. I need no other words; I trust You. Amen.
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