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The more trust we can place in Jesus, the less worrying we have to do for ourselves!
I know we are not supposed to worry about things, but I’m so good at it! If you’re like me (and I say that knowing that you’re probably not that far gone yet), then it seems as if worry is something we didn’t have to learn. Rather, it was just something that we’ve unpacked over the years. Maybe I’m trying to prove to Jesus that I’m taking things seriously. “See, Jesus, I am not letting this go, and my tenacity in thinking about this issue is proof positive that I truly care.” While this is very understandable, I have a better solution to show God that I am serious about this worrisome matter.
Let’s take a son who is now in high school and nearing graduation as an example. We have raised that son the best way we could, and now he is journeying off into the uncharted waters of collegiate life. That child has learned right from wrong and has realized that there is a cause and effect to his actions. Knowing that we did our job and that he is a great kid doesn’t mean that we don’t worry about him. Some of that is normal, and I would say that it is more an expression of being concerned than worry, but the two can often blur.
Let’s imagine that I promised you that I would personally watch over your child at all moments to assist him when needed and to protect him. If that is of no comfort to you, then substitute someone you know and trust! In reality, Jesus, as well as that child’s guardian angel, the saints, and our Lady, all have his sanctity in mind. As we ask all of heaven to come and be present with him, we begin to counter worry with a viable and authentic solution.
How do we know that Jesus will be there for our children? Because he is there for us, daily and constantly in the Eucharist. Jesus’ presence ensures that he truly cares for us. Remember when Jesus speaks about the flowers being adorned in beauty and a sparrow not falling without the Lord knowing it (Matthew 6:28; 10:29-30)? He says we are of greater value than many sparrows (10:31). Does this mean that bad things never happen to good people? Of course not! But we can know that Jesus’ presence will be enough to keep us steady. Remember Jesus walking on the water during the storm (Mark 6:45-52)?
If you do not find yourself building the “muscles” of trust, it will be very difficult for you to not rely on the old habit of worrying. After all, you’ve been building the worry muscle most of your life. Jesus comes and quietly invites you to give to him your children, your awkward moments, your dreams and fears, and asks you to trust that he cares about them more than you do. You haven’t proved a thing by obsessing over these issues, except that you are not trusting Jesus yet with your problem. That’s what we emphatically declare when we worry: “Jesus, I don’t trust you to take this from me.”
It is a little yes each day that will enable you to build the muscles of trust. As you trust Jesus for the tiny things in your life, his faithfulness will be a source of confidence when you face the large things in life. Think about David as he faced Goliath. David was confident that God would give him the victory over this proven warrior. Why? Because God had given him victory over the lions and other predators who came to destroy the sheep he was tending (1 Samuel 17:36-37). Because God had been present and had given him victory over these smaller foes, David trusted that God would absolutely give him victory over this Philistine who had so greatly offended the armies of the God of Israel.
If we want to learn how to lighten the load of worry in our lives, then we have to begin to grow in our trust of Christ. It won’t be an immediate fix because, again, worrying is something we are good at and used to, but over time we will start to realize that Jesus’ love for us, his constant presence to us in the Eucharist, is proof that when he commits himself to something, he means business. In the words of the classic song from so long ago, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Why? Because Jesus really does care for you more than you can ever imagine. Trust me. Well, actually—trust him!
Prayer Starter: What is one worry that I can entrust to God today?
Excerpted from Why the Eucharist Matters for Your Life by Chris Padgett (The Word Among Us Press, 2014). Available at wau.org/books