A few weeks ago my six-year-old son was bit by a dog on his leg. He is ok, thank God, but it was a scary moment for all of us. It happened so fast and I couldn’t do anything to stop it. I hated seeing him so scared. Later on he asked me why I didn’t protect him and it just broke my heart. I told him I did as much as I could and I’m glad he was not hurt worse but I still wish there was something I could have done to prevent it.
I love my kids so, so much and I hate to see them suffer. Sometimes, I can’t sleep at night thinking of all the bad things that could happen to my children and my heart clenches in fear. Will they be healthy? Will they have good friends? Will they get picked on and bullied so bad that it breaks them? Will they be the bully or break someone else’s heart? Will they be safe? Will they make good choices and stay happy and close to God?
There is so much suffering in this world, so much pain. A good friend recently lost her little brother by an unfortunate gunshot incident; another friend’s sweet little girl was also bit by a dog in her head earlier this year and is still trying to heal; a friend and mother of ten children in my parish has very invasive breast cancer and will most likely have a full mastectomy soon. And on top of all that, the man who I feel has already brought so much damage to our economy and personal liberties in this country was re-elected for another four years – I can’t help but be concerned for how this will directly affect our Catholic Church and our religious liberties in this country, our family, and so many other families already struggling around the country.
However, instead of letting this drive me into a fearful desperation or living every day in worry, I choose to give up – to God – who is more powerful and bigger than all of this. (I often overhear my boys talking about how big God is. They go through various comparisons until my oldest finally says to his little brother, God is bigger than everything!)
It’s in these moments of adversity that I have to acknowledge that I am powerless against all this. There are other hardships my kids and family will endure that I cannot stop. During these times, when I can’t do anything else, I say to God, “Well, I guess I’ll just have to trust you with this.”
That said I have to admit that sometimes I get tired of merely “trusting in God”. I hear that phrase so often it loses its meaning after a while. What does it really mean, “Trust God”?
Does it mean I can just sit around and do nothing assuming God provide our family with money, food, clothing, shelter, etc?
Does it mean I don’t need to take care of my kids, teach them safety rules and help them make good decisions and just think, “Oh God will take care of them”?
Does “trusting God” mean nothing bad will ever happen to me or my family?
As much as we don’t like it, suffering and hard times are part of this life. Everyone’s life is different, some go through harder trials or live through more suffering than others, but nobody’s life is perfect. Rich, poor, woman, male, black, white, olive, brown, pink, orange—we all have struggles.
If God loves us so much, why allow us to suffer? If He so powerful, enough to create the world and send us His only Son through a virgin, why not just send all the bad stuff away with a wave of his hand? It’s true, He does love us infinitely and yes, He could just wave it all away.
But His love is real, not forced or pretentious. He loves us so much that He respects us enough to let us make our own choices instead of forcing His Will onto us. He is God, not some Titan who meddles with nature at His whim. He’s not a genie or a fairy and won’t wave a magic wand and just make it all go away.
However, He sends us His grace to endure what we have to do with His strength and courage.
Trusting Him means knowing that He is with us – “Emmanuel” – in the good times and the bad times. He is here to share in our joys and in our sorrows. He is here when we are well and happy and when we are sick and in anguish. He is here, right here, with us. Suffering along with us, laughing with us, crying with us, smiling with us, frowning with us. He’s been with us since the beginning, he’s with us now, and He’ll be there with us when we finally cross that finish line and collapse, exhausted and relieved, into his loving arms.
I couldn’t stop that dog from biting my son, I couldn’t stop his pain and fear. But I could hold him and comfort him while he endured it.
“Jesus, I trust in You, Jesus, I trust in You, Jesus, I trust in You. “