trust

Biblebased on Mark 13.1-8, another biblical reflection for the 25th Sunday after Pentecost, November 15, 2015

Jesus prophesied the destruction of the Temple. Later, in private conversation with Peter and Andrew, James and John, his closest disciples (perhaps because they were the first to respond affirmatively to his call, “Follow me”[1]), they ask, “When will this be?” and “What will be the sign?” In other words, when will we know and how can we know for sure?

Fair questions. Faced with life’s über-unpredictability – whether concerning God’s timetable of judgment, the core subject of Jesus’ teaching, or world events, as yesterday’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris horrifically remind us – our human curiosity, anxiety demands answers.

Jesus doesn’t respond to our desire. He doesn’t resolve the dilemma of our hunger for certainty. Rather he counsels, “Beware,” cautioning that we not be fooled and misled by proclaimers and prophesiers who say, however sincerely, “I know!” And though acknowledging calamities to come, Jesus refrains from offering definitive pronouncements about time and place. Jesus does advise us to do what he is doing: Remain alert and be not alarmed.

In this, Jesus speaks from the depths of his heart and mind, his soul and spirit. His focus is not primarily outward on the kaleidoscopic jumble of seemingly random, always inherently uncontrollable world events. Rather he speaks from the point of view of his inner self. His temperament is one of courageous vigilance, come whate’er, come whene’er, which is the fruit of his trust in God.

Jesus, continually grant me the comfort of your Spirit so I can sing with the psalmist: O that I may live in the shelter of the Most High and abide in the shadow of the Almighty, thus saying to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress! My God, in whom I trust.”[2]

Footnotes:

[1] See Mark 1.16-20

[2] Psalm 91.1-2, adapted

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2 thoughts on “trust

  1. Two words about this post Paul…”truly comforting”. I’m holding on to the words “be alert and be not alarmed”. No matter how horrific or sad events may be, we still have to live without the events killing our spirit for life! So we continue on. For me, the words of the Psalmist are also comforting…thank God for our refuge and our fortress!! In this world, we certainly need it.

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  2. Loretta, I used to think one had to have had (or been a part of or been near) the experience of trauma, e.g., car accident, plane crash, tsunami, to consider one’s self a survivor. But, now, given the seemingly escalating tragedies (or is it perhaps that in light of mass, lightning-fast communication that we know more and sooner?) in our global village, I think and feel so assaulted and saddened by it all that I consider myself a survivor. In this, at times, I feel guilt. Knowing myself to be a frail and faltering human being, why do I still live when others who have been killed or who have died appear to me so innocent and so deserving of continued existence in this world? (However, this line of self-questioning serves to make the tragedy all about me!) So, as I continue to live, yes, broken, even shattered by the experience of death, whether in Paris or Beirut or in countless places around the world, I for the sake of nothing less than striving to be a loving and just person, despite my frailties, must carry on. And, in carrying on, trust in God is the only thing that makes sense to me. I cannot control the future (or the present!), hence I rely on the One I believe who holds all things together, come whate’er, come whene’er.

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