One Bible passage worth praying and meditating on daily is Proverbs 3:5-8:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be a healing for your flesh and a refreshment for your body” (NRSV).
Back in August of 1993, my family went through what could have been an unrelenting tragedy. We recited daily and held tightly to the above Proverbs passage; and I am most grateful to say we discovered the truth of Scripture that from everything God works good (Romans 8:28).
Not only are we to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, we are also to trust God with all our hearts, even if that includes trusting God in the face of inscrutable misfortune and suffering. Much of our daily lives may be shrouded in the mystery of “why.” However, this much is certain: you must trust and love God with everything you have and are. God will assuredly get you through whatever you may have to face or endure.
Biblical faith is as much in spite of as because of life events. The faith of Abraham and Sarah, by which they remained right with God, was to believe in God’s promise of progeny in spite of enduring a 25-year period of barrenness. By the time the baby came, Sarah was way past her apparent capacity to give birth.
That was also the faith of Jesus, who suffered crucifixion as one seemingly abandoned by God. In his pain, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1, Mark 15:34). Yet he still trusted God completely in spite of horrific circumstances. Look at the countless progeny of Christ followers who arose after his death and resurrection.
One of my favorite poems in this context is “Faith and Sight,” by Mary Gardner Brainard (1837-1905): “So, I go on, not knowing, / — I would not, if I might — / I would rather walk in the dark with God / Than go alone in the light; / I would rather walk with Him by faith, / Than walk alone by sight.”
True freedom sweeps through us when we trust in God rather than in our limited and limiting understanding. There is no better response to God’s unconditional love for us than our unconditional trust in God.
(Editor’s note: Hal Green, Ph.D., has taught and written about prayer extensively. A former religion professor and Methodist pastor, he joined the Catholic Church in 2011, and is a member of Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish in Muscatine. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org)