The Scriptures this weekend offer a beautiful reminder about the reality of the Providence of God. In the first reading we hear:
Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me;
my LORD has forgotten me."
Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. (Isaiah 49:14-15)
And again in the Gospel:
So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink? 'or 'What are we to wear?' All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." (Matthew 6:33-34)
Although most people in the First World don’t have to worry about their most basic needs being met, many of us still live in a constant state of anxiety and fear. At the core of our fear is the realization that most things are not in our control. Illness, weather, other people’s choices – there is so much that can go wrong. This bitter truth is most obvious to new parents. Their children are their greatest treasure and the minute they are born into this world, parents experience this reality in the most acute way.
Throughout salvation history, God has gone to great lengths to reveal to the world that He is Love and He holds all things in his control. Throughout his early covenants with Abraham, Noah and Moses, through his interaction with the Prophets and the Judges, through the establishment of the Davidic Kingdom and the fatherly care he showed to Israel, despite their unfaithfulness to the Covenant, and then, ultimately, with the sending of his only begotten Son, Jesus, God demonstrates time and again that He loves us and wants us to trust him. Once we grasp this, truly grasp this, real freedom is possible.
God created us, knows we live in a world that is not immune to danger, and we are prone to fear and anxiety. And, unlike the Evil One who exploits our vulnerability to enslave us, God wants us to trust him so as to be free. Free enough to trust that He is good and therefore, trustworthy. Free enough to trust him with our present as well as our future. Like Job, to learn that although we might experience tragedy in our lives, we are only privy to a small view of time and space, while God sees the whole.
As we draw closer to Lent, let us pray that we will come to know these truths in a new and profound way. That we will allow God to teach us, as he did the characters of the Bible, that He is good, He loves us, and He is in control; and then, we may begin to truly trust and surrender to Him all our lives.