Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Sometimes I hear God’s voice in the most unexpected places. Recently when watching the Disney movie “Aladdin” the classic scene of Aladdin holding out his hand and asking Jasmine, “Do you trust me?” struck me as wonderful illustration of how God reaches out His Hand and asks us this same question. Are we willing to leave our fears and worries behind and accept God’s invitation to live in the freedom and joy that He promises?
In the first reading from Isaiah, the Lord speaks to His people and tells us that He is creating a new Jerusalem where there will be joy. God invites us to leave the past behind and step forward into the future where life will be long and full of all that we need. When we follow God’s pathway for us, then we become his “delight.” This seems like a description of our eternal afterlife, but if we believe that we get a glimpse of heaven when we live in the fullness of God’s presence here on earth- then God is calling us to this joy today.
In the gospel reading, a royal official with a sick child comes to Jesus asking Jesus to heal his son. Jesus responds by questioning the man’s belief unless he sees “signs and wonders.” In desperation, the man begs Jesus to heal his son before he dies. Jesus sends the man on his way telling him that the child will live. The man believes and on his return home finds that his son was healed exactly at the time Jesus had said the child would recover. The man accepts Jesus’ promise and believes He will heal his son. He is willing to let go of his fear, unbelief, and doubt. Because of this he is able to receive God’s grace and healing for his son.
How often do we stop to recognize God’s Hand reaching out to us and asking us, “Do you trust me?” Maybe there is a new opportunity – a new relationship, a new job, a new move, or a new way of living- that God is calling you to embrace. Are you able to step forward in faith despite the uncertainty and the fear of possible failure? Do you believe that even though it may be painful God will be there to accompany you through whatever you face? Do you believe that God desires for you what will help you grow to become who He created you to be?
Although I think it is unrealistic to believe that God is reaching out to take us on a magic carpet ride, I do believe that God’s love is so great that He truly desires what will bring us joy. The challenge for us is to believe that God’s will is in our best interest, particularly when the path is unknown and may not be the path we would choose. Trusting in God’s presence is something that requires daily practice in small decisions. Every time we are faced with a choice, when we stop and surrender our will to God and ask for His wisdom, He will guide our ways. The more often we are able to practice this awareness through acts of faith, the more this becomes a habit for our daily walk with God. Overtime we begin to realize that even though we face trials and hardships, God is still providing the best for us. Our trust in Him grows as we recognize the blessings in the midst of both the joys and sorrows of our lives.
For us to recognize God’s outstretched Hand, we must deepen our relationship with Him through prayer, scripture, sacrament, and awareness of His presence in the world around us. With complete assurance of His love for us, we can grab His Hand trusting that wherever we go, He will be at our side. We may not know what is on the horizon, but we can trust that His will leads to our joy and His delight.
Loving Father, Jesus shows us how to place our complete trust in your love. Through the grace of Your Spirit help us to grow in faith, so we can always choose to do Your will. May our faith in You bring You praise and glory, we pray this through Christ, our LORD. Amen.