Sunday, February 26, 2017

God Provides

It is a truth that we could spend our whole lives reflecting on.

God created this vast universe with all its marvels. He sustains this massive creation in existence through every moment. Nothing happens without His knowing it and permitting it.

Despite all this, He knows each of us individually. There is no detail of our life that is hidden from Him. Whether it be the number of hairs on our head, the secrets of our heart or the thoughts of our mind, He knows them all.

Even more wonderfully, He cares about us. When we laugh, He laughs along with us. When we cry, He feels our pain. When we are consumed with doubts and worries He longs to make us understand that He will make everything work out in the end.

With all the people in this world and all that is happening, He is never for one second distracted from thinking about us. We are always on His mind. We never leave His sight. We are always in His heart.

This is the beautiful message we hear from the prophet Isaiah in today’s first reading.
God is compared to a mother whose mind is always on her child. Just as a mother nurtures her child and drops everything when her child calls so our God has no other desire than to love and nurture us. The image is that of a mother holding her baby, looking at her child with astonishment at how beautiful she is, how smooth her complexion is and how perfect all her features are. Just so, God gazes on us with astonishment, wonder and amazement because we are each His perfect creation.

When we let that truth sink in, the words of Jesus in the gospel take on new meaning. If God loves us so deeply, if we are always on His mind and if He has power over the whole universe, then what sense does it make for us to worry. God is in control. He has promised to make all things work out for our good. No matter what tragedies we may undergo, no matter what sickness we may be enduring, God will provide for us. It may not always be what we want when we want it but it will be just what we need.

That does not mean that we do not work hard. It does not mean that we do not strive to provide for our families. God does not want us to sit at home and wait for everything to be handed to us. Rather He gave us work so that we could develop our talents and appreciate what we have. What He does not want is for us to be imprisoned by worry and fear. He does not want us to be so preoccupied with making a living that we work ourselves to death or neglect our relationships. He also wants us to understand that what we have is His gift. What would we be able to accomplish if God did not give us our talents, our health or the people we have known through life who gave us the opportunities to succeed?

It is very easy in our society for our work to become an end in itself. Rather than as a means for providing for our family or building up community, it can become a way of hoarding money or of pursuing our own interests at the expense of others. That is why the third commandment, that we keep holy the Sabbath, is so important for our spiritual lives. By observing Sunday as a day of rest and worship, we are reminded of why we were created and why we work. Putting aside our work for one day helps us to slow down and spend time with those we love. It also gives us the time to worship God whose loving care makes our lives and our work possible. Keeping Sunday holy teaches us to enjoy what we already have, especially the loving relationships which no amount of money can replace.

In our world, we can easily fall into the trap of thinking that those who do not have enough money or food only have themselves to blame. If they would only work harder,  they would have all that they need. However, this mindset fails to take into account how many people fall on hard times because of factors that are outside of their control such as sickness, changes in the economy or fluctuating market conditions. Many people want to work but do not have an opportunity or are unable to because of some physical limitation. Keeping Sunday holy reminds us of our responsibility to them as well, to provide for those who have not had the opportunities we enjoy and to that the goods of God’s creation are meant for all people.

We are God’s dear children. In every moment of our life, He is nurturing us, caring for us and loving us. Because of this assurance, we can live with confidence, striving to earn what we need and all the while keeping in mind the needs of those around us. When we seek our security in God’s love rather than in wealth, status or possessions we will never falter because our Heavenly Father’s care for us is the surest wager we could ever make. That is the message of Jesus who promises us that if we seek first His Kingdom, everything else will be provided for us.

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