Learning to Depend on God for Everything

It will always be seen that those who have learnt to depend entirely on God for everything are relaxed persons. Those who depend on themselves and the solutions provided by the world invariably carry in themselves a lot of tension and stress.

Many of us are in command of one or more material assets – a good job, a lucrative business, intelligence, knowledge, talents, wealth, power, connections. Success in the world often gives us a sense of confidence and self-sufficiency. We overlook the fact that we owe everything to God. We practically forget God and get to believe our success is what we have achieved through our own merits.

Some of us, however, have the grace to acknowledge God in the good things that happen to us. This may be after we run into some problem. We then realize: “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). As St Paul put it, ‘By the grace of God, I am what I am, and His grace toward me has not been without fruit.’ (1 Corinthians 15:10).

FAITH INVOLVES TOTAL DEPENDENCE ON GOD

When we turn to God in our problems and He answers our prayers or solves our problems, then our faith in Him increases and a relationship of dependence on Him grows. Sometimes, however, God may not answer our prayers or He may not answer them in the way we want. In such a situation, some of us may start sulking and grow cold and indifferent towards God.

Some of us may even revolt against God and cut off our bonds with Him altogether. But some may still choose to stay with the Lord and depend on Him in all circumstances.

INSPIRING EXAMPLES FROM THE HOLY BIBLE OF TOTAL DEPENDANCE ON GOD

The Bible has inspiring examples of persons who depended on God through thick and thin.

  • Abraham believed in God even as he awaited for the Promised land, even as he was told his wife Sarah would bear a son in her old age, even as he was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac. Read Hebrews 11:8-19.

Abraham and Sarah traded their home in the city of Ur to live as nomads in the land of Canaan.
  • Moses let himself be guided by the Lord and opted to fight for his people rather than enjoy the pleasures of Pharaoh’s household and despite the whims of the very people he was leading. Read Hebrews 11:23-29.

Moses in the palace of the Pharaoh – “Let my People go”
  • Among many others, we have the examples of Samuel and David.

THE TOTAL DEPENDANCE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

The Blessed Virgin Mary trusted God:

  • Despite being told she would bear a Son without having relations with a man (Luk 1:30-38),
  • Even while she gave birth to her Child in a cow shed (Luke 2:7),
  • Even when she heard the dire predictions of Simeon (Luke 2:34-35),
  • While she had to flee with her Son and husband to Egypt for safety (Matthew 2:13-15),
  • When Her Son was lost on their return from Jerusalem (Luke 2:41-51),
  • When people made wild comments about her Son (John 10:20),
  • When her Son carried the cross on which he was nailed, bled and died (John 19:25) and
  • When she stood with the disciples awaiting the Holy Spirit after her Son’s ascension to heaven (Acts 1:14).

SAINTLY FIGURES IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH EXEMPLIFYING TOTAL DEPENDANCE ON GOD

Apart from biblical figures, we have:

  • The heroic case of St. Monica (331-387) who prayed for eighteen years and secured the conversions first of her pagan husband Patricius and then her wayward son Augustine who went on to become a Bishop, Saint and Doctor of the Church.
  • St. Joseph Vaz (1651-1711) from Goa went through rough times but pursued his spiritual calling.

It is a great encouragement to find contemporary men and women of God who prove to us that depending on God for everything is possible and relevant even in our own times. Among them we find:

  • St. John Paul II (1920-2005)
  • St. Teresa of Kolkata (1910-97)
  • St. Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-62)
  • Bl. Chiara Luce Badano (1971-90)
  • Ven. Carlo Acutis (1991-2006).
  • Sr. Clare Theresa Crockett (1982-2016)
Sr. Clare Theresa Crockett, Ireland.


SEEKING FIRST GOD’S KINGDOM

How did these men and women depend on God for everything? How can we depend on God for everything?

In His sermon on the mount, Jesus was emphatic in saying we should not worry about our worldly needs such as food, drink and clothing because “your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Set your heart first on the kingdom of God and His justice and all these things will also be given to you.” (Matthew 6:32-33).

So our focus has to be on the kingdom of God and we have to trust that God knows our needs and will provide for all of them. Jesus illustrated that when God feeds the birds in the sky and clothes the flowers in the field, how much more will He not feed and clothe us who are worth more than birds and flowers! (Matthew 6:26, 30).

Our trust is based on our conviction that God is our Father and He takes care of us as made so clear by Jesus. And when God does not answer our prayers in the way we want, we must have faith in God’s own plans for us.

‘I know what plans I have for you, plans for peace and not for disaster, plans to give you hope and a future.’ (Jeremiah 29:11). Our prayer must be persistent and regardless of whether and how God may eventually answer it. “Will not God do justice for His chosen ones who cry to Him day and night even if He delays in answering them?” (Luke 18:7).

So our focus has to be on the kingdom of God and we have to trust that God knows our needs and will provide for all of them.


GOD’S LOVE NEVER FAILS

We learn to depend on the Lord when we know and believe from deep within that He loves us. ‘The Lord’s eyes are upon those who trust in His loving-kindness, to deliver them from death and to preserve them from famine’ (Psalm 33:18-19). Consistent dependence itself makes our relationship with the Lord grow.

We begin to know and feel the Lord like a close friend and protector. ‘I know in whom I have placed my trust and I am convinced that He is capable of taking care of all I have entrusted to Him until that day’ (2 Timothy 1:12). We can relieve ourselves of the weight of our worries by passing them on to the Lord to handle them.

‘Unburden yourself on the Lord, and He will sustain you’ (Psalm 55:22). And, having put the Lord in charge, we can stay calm rather than be anxious. ‘You keep in perfect peace the one of steadfast mind, because he trusts in You’ (Isaiah 26:3).

It will always be seen that those who have learnt to depend entirely on God for everything are relaxed persons. Those who depend on themselves and the solutions provided by the world invariably carry in themselves a lot of tension and stress.

The world ignores God and relies entirely on science, technology and its financial and intellectual resources only to realise its limitations. Has not this been the case with the Covid-19 pandemic?

People are now impatient to see a vaccine for its prevention and a drug for its cure. Only a few see it from a spiritual perspective – seeking to understand what is God’s message through this pandemic and invoking His mercy and protection on the world.

‘If you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your stronghold, no harm will come upon you, no disaster will draw near your tent’ (Psalm 91:9-10). While this is the assurance, the reality is that the world seeks refuge in the things of the world and does not turn to God or turns to God only as a last resort. The world appears to doubt the biblical promise: ‘The Lord provides for His loved ones even when they are asleep.’ (Psalm 127:2).

Through the bitter disappointments we go through after trying to be self-reliant and being over-confident, we may turn back to the Lord to say, ‘I put my trust in your unfailing love.’ (Psalm 13:5).

Chastened by our hard experience and shorn of our arrogance, we might recall a verse from Saint John Henry Newman’s (1801-90) famous prayer-poem “Lead, kindly light”.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou should’st lead me on; I loved to choose and see my path; but now lead Thou me on. I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears, Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.