Trusting God: Daring To Love
Thoughts on the First Readings -Joe Frankenfield
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Ezra 37: 12-14
A man once who told me in all seriousness that he never went to doctors. He simply trusted in God he said. I told him, as nicely as I could, that his logic escaped me. “God never mentioned anything about relying on him instead of doctors,” said I. “Of course not,” he countered, “but he never said to wear a coat when it’s cold either. It’s just common sense that God’s smarter than doctors.” Sometimes a little voice whispers in my ear, “Time to shut up.” I did.
All believers claim great confidence in God but, in my experience, when they give specific explanations about what their reliance entails, they wander all over the lot. It’s hard to criticize them for this vagueness since the guidance teachers and preachers offer them is also all over the lot. Given that we all value the attitude of trust in God, it’s good as part of our Lenten reflections to seriously ask ourselves what we’re talking about when we claim such trust. What do we think God wants to be trusted about?
When we look at Jesus’ teaching, we don’t find him acting as an expert on child rearing or health maintenance. He didn’t prescribe a type of government. He didn’t even give a program for running a church. What he did was promise a world that would be guided by God’s Spirit and told everyone that the way to be part of this world was to love one another and “one another” included one’s enemies.
It seems, then, that trust, in the Christian context, consists in loving one another, including our enemies, with confidence that such behavior places us within the new world guided by God’s Spirit.
The difficulty, of course, is that trusting God and ourselves to love that much scares us to death. Maybe that’s why it was only after they experienced the Resurrection that Jesus’ followers could seriously discuss the necessity of picking up the cross and following him.