Trusting in the Only Refuge

By Fr. Mike Boutin

Thus says the LORD: Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season, but stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth.

Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: it fears not the heat when it comes; its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.  (Jeremiah 17:5-8)

Here's a very uplifting version of an old spiritual called "Trust in the Lord," from YouTube.

I'm on vacation this week in Florida, staying at the home of some parishioners. It's a really beautiful place, not far from the beach, though I haven't been able to see much of the beach since it's been raining since we arrived! 

The other night, after a day on the road, we walked into a very dark house: that's because the electricity was out!  Suddenly, I was afraid... of bumping into furniture, of walking into intruders, of not being able to find my way around... after all, it was a strange house!  Where are the candles? When will the electricity come back on?  Will the food in the refrigerator spoil? 

I realized how much we come to rely on human constructs, like electricity. You flip the switch and the lights turn on.  You turn the key and the car starts.  You go to the Winn Dixie, and there's food everywhere. You pick up the phone and your mother answers.  You send an email, and a Nigerian banker offers you two million dollars... (Sorry, I digress.)

Life is replete with trusting moments.  Until, suddenly, with the flip of a switch or the turn of a key, we realize again how fragile our lives really are.  In a moment, the lights don't turn on.  Or your mom doesn't answer the phone anymore.  The car doesn't start.  Or in the bigger picture, the life we knew is radically changed, in an instant... by a diagnosis... a job loss... infidelity... a hurricane...

And in that moment, faith reminds us that the only constant in our lives is God. God alone is our refuge in the storm.  God is our light in the darkness.  God is our way in the night. God is food for the journey.  God is... always...

Faithful, patient, always loving... God waits for us to place our trust in Him. God waits for us to learn about God's loving plan for us, about God's strength in times of difficulty, and God waits to teach us again about His love and His mercy...

We can continue to delude ourselves into trusting in things and persons that ultimately fail, or we can learn again how faithful our God is... and learn to trust in Him in times of trouble until the Light comes...

Now pray....

 

Father Mike Boutin is the co-pastor of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Walpole, MA, and travels widely, leading pilgrimages throughout the world to various Catholic religious sites. He is a frequent speaker on liturgy, music, spirituality, and pastoral ministry.

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