I think oftentimes the most difficult thing in the Christian life is not necessarily prayer, zeal, or discipleship—it’s trust. Trust that our worries will be taken care of, prayers answered, and that He will provide in His time, not our own; trust that God is a promise keeper. The personal doubts I have were not made clear until this past spring semester of my sophomore year of college. It was as if suddenly I was always anxious about tomorrow, stressed about the to-do list I make up in my head, and worried that I was just “too much” for God to handle. In prayer, I was no longer simply thanking Him and asking for intercession for my personal prayers, but also asking Him to put trust in my heart.
That semester, I began to dive deep and truly develop a personal prayer life. I prayed especially hard for a certain special intention—it was at the forefront of all my prayers. I started spending at least 30 minutes in adoration every day, reading scripture and consecrating myself to different Saints, specifically Saint Joseph and Saint Michael the Archangel. It was after I completed my Saint Joseph consecration— on his Solemnity—that my trust in God began to waver. I began receiving signs from Him about my intention that I did not understand and that I could not comprehend on my own. I knew He was speaking to me, and deep down, I knew that I was His beloved daughter and He had always taken care of me, but doubts still filled my mind. I started asking Mary, Saint Joseph, and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux for aid in understanding what exactly God was speaking to me. I also asked God to speak to me through the different passages of scripture I read every night.
However, during this time, I was always on edge throughout the day. I was seeking out anything and everything that could be a possible answer to what God was telling me. I would go into prayer hopeful and excited just to come out frustrated, let down, angry, and most of the time, in tears. After prayer every night, I would no longer want to pray the next day. I felt worthless, hopeless, abandoned, and like I was just a pawn in a game. I felt as if God was the game player—and I was the game.
I was not doubting God was speaking to me, I was doubting what He was speaking to me. I was not turning to these saints to spite God— I was simply seeking their intercession for a clearer understanding and someone to lean on in my confusion and hurt. Because here is the thing—when the Word of God is spoken to you through signs, dreams, or people, you want to make sure you get it right. We are human, flawed by our nature from the Fall, which means our interpretations can also be flawed. Since I recognized that, I also saw that with the help of those that are closest to God who have been made perfect in heaven and by the Holy Spirit, I could better understand what God was speaking to me.
One significant takeaway I had from this spiritual battle is that developing a personal prayer life is key to growing in trust. I myself did not understand the impact of personal prayer until I made a daily commitment to it. Create your own flow, start small, and stick to it every day. Next, pray through the intercession of specific saints, grow closer to them, and do not be afraid to share any worries or feelings of uncertainty with them.
“The cross is the gift God gives to His friends.”Saint Philip Neri
The closer we are to God, the more trials we face—the saints faced them more than anyone, so be vulnerable to them. Finally, look in scripture. I promise there is a verse describing God’s involvement in every fear, panic, or unease that you have in life somewhere in scripture.
It was not until after I finally fully trusted God with my intention that everything unfolded. I knew exactly what He was speaking to me and it surpassed all my own interpretations I made up by myself. I felt refreshed, relieved, and as if I were made new. You know the feeling you get after you leave a good and heartfelt confession? That describes it. I felt as if I had come out of hiding from God, that somehow before I was ashamed to stand before Him with my intention. I learned not only that there is no reason not to trust God and be vulnerable with Him from my experience, but also that what He has planned is so much better than what we have planned for ourselves in life.
This is to show that He is indeed a promise keeper and that it is okay to struggle with trust. Moses struggled when he saw the burning bush and even after the Exodus in the wilderness. Even after he was made the rock of the Church and had been a follower of Jesus, Peter doubted. Thomas had to touch Christ’s wounds to believe. All of them wrestled to fully and completely believe. All you need is faith the size of a mustard seed. And if you have more faith than that and think you have a good, strong relationship with Jesus, I challenge you: Ask yourself this question I heard on a podcast the other day that stopped me in my tracks: Are you willing to give everything?