Lay all your cares about the future trustingly in God’s hands, and let yourself be guided by the Lord just like a little child. — St. Edith Stein (Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)
My spiritual director a number of years ago said to me, “If you ask God for more trust, know He will find you reasons to. You can’t have it both ways: asking for trust and then complaining when you finally have the chance.” I later wrote with stream of consciousness in my journal:
That’s really jarring. Yeah, trust is easy when all is well. Then trust is a sweet word. Then everything goes wrong and it seems a bitter word. God, I trusted you until things went wrong! That’s my motto.
Trust in God only means something when there’s a reason to trust; when all my pathetic props have fallen away; when the forces of blind chance seem to have taken the upper hand; when evil seems to have gotten its way.
I thought: In the beginning of the first creation the Spirit brooded over the dark and chaotic abyss [Genesis 1:2], and then at the beginning of the second creation the Spirit brooded over the Passion of Christ [Hebrews 9:14]. And at Mass at the epiclesis, He brings the sacrifice of Christ with Him. In the midst of the Spirit’s fertile brooding above the Cross, it seemed only death and chaos prevailed; but out of the terrors of the night came a world of good. Literally! His brooding over the dark abyss in the first creation gave rise to men and women called to trust God; His brooding over the Son’s execution in the second creation, called forth by the trust of a God-Man, gave rise to new heavens and a new earth, where “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Rev. 21:4).
At every moment creation, from the divine vantage, emerges fresh from God’s creative word: “Let there be…and there was…” At every moment creation, from the divine vantage, emerges fresh from God’s re-creative Word: “Behold, I make all things new” [Rev. 21:5]. Yet, think about it, those words were spoken by a God with open flesh-wounds in His hands, feet and side.
Trust is simply an echo of God’s creating word, “let there be” — trust says, “Let it be.” Mary permitted God to re-create all things when she echoed the words of creation: “Let it be done” (Luke 1:38). The prayer given to us by the God-Man: “Thy will be done.” Jesus spoke these words at the moment when everything was about to fall into ruin, in the Garden of Agony. He cried out with trust, yet in terror, to the Father with trembling lips drenched with blood, “…yet not as I will, but as you will” [Matt. 26:39]. By speaking those words, He made all things new [Heb. 10:9-10]. Out of that act of trust, spoken into the great silence, the revolution began. John Paul II says, “At the price of the Cross the Holy Spirit comes.” Every act of trust in the darkness threatens a new Pentecost, a world-transforming epiclesis.
St. John of the Cross says, “Suffering for God is better than working miracles” precisely because suffering provides a safe womb for trust (wild paradox!), and trust is the only true source of miracles that don’t just create passing amazement, but transubstantiate the world. God’s providence is revealed fully, completely, totally in the death and resurrection of Jesus. THAT is the manner in which He exercises “control” over history, entering into its bitter dregs in order to draw from it new wine.
Without this full vision of faith, hope cannot be sustained; trust collapses if it thinks “all will be well” offers a detour around the Cross. Only when spoken by one hanging from the Cross can the words, “Into your hands, Father, I entrust my spirit” mean anything.
So, my simple acts of trust in the dark, of obedience in the face of hardship, of prayer in the face of silence, of love in the face of hate, of mercy in the face of evil (all requiring trust in God’s power) are pregnant with the hidden dynamism that creates and re-creates the world at every moment. In every moment, God awaits my fresh echo of His beginning word: “Let there be.” In me may He hear back, “And so it was.” Amen.