This past year (yes, it has been a whole year since the pandemic hit) has been a test of faith for just about everyone, no matter where they placed their faith. It seemed that formerly reliable norms no longer applied in this new pandemic-panic world.
Perhaps the Christian community has been tested more than any other group as we saw our prayers seemingly go unheeded while we lost family and friends to illness and were prevented from gathering together for worship and the support we so desperately sought.
It’s much easier to trust in our Holy Father’s perfect love for us when all is well and the answer to our prayers is a resounding, “Yes!” How much harder it is to accept, “No,” or even, “Not yet.”
Like children begging for treats, we may recognize that not all of our wants would be good for us, but when the things we ask for seem to our minds to be so obviously beneficial and right, it is hard not to resent God for withholding them.
When speaking to Christian groups, I would often make the bold claim that I was God’s favorite child. That usually caused a few raised eyebrows until I explained that each one of us is also His favorite. Incredibly, miraculously, God loves each of us as though there were only one of us.
I believe that is true, even during my darkest days, but especially when I’m in the midst of blessings. I have been so blessed in my life that I might be just a bit spoiled by the abundance of God’s grace, mercy, and love. Like an overindulged child, I’ve come to expect…and feel I DESERVE… only good things, only the benevolent, “Yes,” in response to my prayers. And like that spoiled child, when my pleas are denied I can become confused, angry, and frightened. Can I still trust that God loves me? Am I still His favorite when He says no?
Confusion, anger and fear have held sway this past year in too many hearts and minds. It is time to exercise trust in our Creator who has only our best interests at heart. Perhaps if I was an all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal God, I would understand everything He allows into my life. As it is, I can only trust Him. Trust is the antidote to confusion and fear.
While policy makers and the media chant, “Be afraid. Be very afraid,” our loving Father whispers, “Fear not.”
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)