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  A Christian Faith Magazine January 2004, Volume 9, Issue 6  
Trust In God
Rev. Mark Connolly
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Years ago in the early days of clinical practice, in order to get a person to totally believe in you as a therapist, it was a common practice to take that patient in a group therapy session, blindfold that same person and have that person totally dependent on you. It was a way of trying to foster and develop deep trust between the therapist and the patient. But when you analyze that kind of trust, it in no way compares to the story that the Church is talking about this month. The story of the Epiphany.

The Wise Men

It really isn't a great matter of importance to have factual knowledge as to whether there were three wisemen or more. It really isn't of great importance to know how many miles they traveled to see the new born king. It really isn't that important to believe that they brought gold and frankincense or myrrh. What is so important about this feast day is that the three wisemen had a sense of trust that God would lead them to a small town in Bethlehem and that there they would be able to meet the son of God. Their journey to find Christ in a stable was a journey of trust. They left their homes, they left all the luxuries that their status in life gave them, they left all their loved ones to find God in the person of a Child by the name of Jesus Christ. Their trip to find God was based on trust that God would lead them to that stable in Bethlehem.

That was 2000 years ago and God asks each one of us to share that same trip during the journey of our lives. Trust is demanded when things don't go your own way. It takes trust to have one realize that God knows what He is doing when He bring something tragic into your life. The whole story of the child who left the stable in Bethlehem, who grew up as an adolescent, who faced all sorts of adolescent problems, is a story of trust. The whole story of being forced to take flight into Egypt is a story of trust. The whole story of Joseph not being able to find work in a land because he was Jewish is a story of trust. The whole story of Mary going on the road to Calvary seeing her son whipped, and seeing Him fall at least three times, is a story of trust. The whole of this Christmas Story, the whole story of the Epiphany is one of constant reminders about the importance of trust in ones life.

Saint Monica
St. Monica

And this story of the Epiphany as beautiful as it is with the imagery of what the wisemen were and where they came from and what they brought is so beautiful. But it is one of trust that almost all the followers of Jesus Christ in their daily lives have had to implement. Just think of it. Mary had given birth to her first born in a stable. Can you imagine how she had to trust that God would provide at this most beautiful time in her life? Just think of it, Mary and Joseph are told in a dream to make haste because that same Child's life could be at stake. Joseph, his wife, Mary, and their son were always asked at every phase of their lives to trust in God. And that same God asks us on a personal daily basis to have us realize the value of personal trust.. This does not mean sitting back and being clinically passive. It means as St. Augustine said, "That when a problem occurs you work as if everything depended on you and pray as if everything depended on God." When you look at the life of St. Monica who prayed for over 19 years that her son would turn his life around, you see the value of trust. Here was the most famous or infamous delinquent of all history. He experimented in drugs, got involved in homosexual acts, fathered an illegitimate child and yet because of a prayer life of a mother like Monica, his life turned around and he became a Catholic, a Catholic priest, a Catholic Bishop and finally a Catholic Saint. And as one of her biographers wrote about Monica, she became the living example that trust in God is sought after especially when things don't go our own ways. God writes in crooked circles and crooked lines and reasons he never gives. But as St. Bernard said in his prayer, The Memorare, "No one who goes to Him will be left unaided."

There is one privilege that you cannot afford to deny yourself, the privilege of personally trusting in God. God never told us that we would go through this world untroubled. He never promised us a rose garden. He never said that everyday would be better and each year richer. What he did say is that if you have confidence in me I will help you over come this world. Probably no man has written more eloquently on the meaning of trust. He once said, that regardless of the problems that you face in life, you must face life from the point of view of God. God has put you on this earth for a mission, you are a link in a chain, a connection between persons. He has committed a work to you that he has committed to no other. Your work is different from mine, but each has a special work and how you perform your mission in this life might never be known in this life, but will be known in the life to come. That is why trust is so important. He said, "If you are in sickness, your sickness will serve Him, if you are in perplexity, your perplexity will serve him, if you are in sorrow; your sorrow will serve him. And no matter what happens God still knows what your life is all about."

A Man for All Seasons

Trust enables you to achieve oneness with the spirit of God. And this is part of our mission on this earth. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to see the famous tower of London, the place where Thomas More was killed. Robert Bolt, in his book, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS, brought home the beautiful example of what trust is all about. Margaret, his daughter, was pleading with her father in the tower of London to change his beliefs and his reasons and by doing so, his approaching death would be avoided. She pleaded with her father, Thomas More, by saying, "Father, haven't you done as much as God can reasonably want?" And her father lovingly looked at her and said, "Margaret, all of life, mine and yours isn' t just a matter of reason, it is a matter of trust in God."

May 2004 be for all of us a year of personal and deeper trust in God.

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