The ancient Hebrews often saw God as the stable force in their lives. They referred to Him as my rock, my fortress, my deliverer (Psalm 18:2) and my rock of refuge, my shield, my saving horn, my stronghold (Psalm 18:3).
I wonder how much we realize our true dependence on God for everything?
In our American society we might think of ourselves as rugged individuals. We speak of the self-made man or woman. We might save and plan financially for retirement so that we can be comfortable later in life, free of all worries. With this mindset, perhaps there is an affinity to songs like My Way (Paul Anka or Frank Sinatra) or My Life (Billy Joel) because they speak of our independence and freedom to do what we want, when we want to do it.
If it were not for God willing it, however, we would not be in existence at all. Every breath we take, every thought we think, every action we attempt are all within God’s permissive will. He allows them to happen. All good things that we have, things that we might often take for granted, are pure gift from God—His Grace.
Yes, it is also true that God has given us intelligence and free-will. We are made in His image and likeness and He gives us tools that we are expected to use responsibly. We might sometimes think that we act independent of Him, especially when we choose to do something on our own, even against His will. However, it is because He has given us free-will in the first place that we are capable of various diverse acts such as loving, forgiving, hating or sinning at all.
Jesus reminds us not to worry about material things. He speaks of the importance of relying on God for everything, and not on ourselves:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. (Mt. 6: 25-29)
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. (Mt. 6: 33-34)
Personally, I use an expression with those I know, reminding them in the midst of worry, or during some trial and tribulation that “God will still be God tomorrow.” God is always here—with us—in some mysterious, unseen way. He remains constant, a rock, a source of refuge for us. He is here now and will continue to be here for us tomorrow and beyond.
As we take our Lenten journey—often a type of desert experience—perhaps we can reflect on God’s ever-abiding, Divine Providence. Once we realize that He is with us always, even the greatest of obstacles no longer seems so insurmountable.
Fr. Ed Namiotka