If we spend our days in worry and driven by anxiety, if we are constantly trying to control our life’s circumstances, if we feel free to live our lives as we wish without a thought for how it impacts others, especially those closest to us, if we are living out the cultural paradigm of success and materialism in the world’s terms, then we need to ask ourselves a few simple, direct questions about how faithful we are being to God, how much we trust God in our lives, how much we truly put ourselves in God’s hands. Our ability to trust in God is one true indicator of how much we love our Creator.
Love alone is not enough. Gratitude is not enough. They must be undergirded by trust: a basic, essential trust in the providence and mercy of God as we live our lives. The proof of this essential trust lies in how we negotiate our lives. If we are worried, where is the trust? If we are anxious about our lives, where did the trust go? Jesus asks why we worry about what to wear or what to eat: “Consider the lilies of the field, they toil not, neither do they spin.”* I believe he is telling us that we really are not to worry about anything, that God is in charge of everything, that we can count on God in everything.
If we truly believe this teaching, then we need to live it. If we find that difficult, we can, at the very least, live as if it’s true, practicing this truth, living into this truth, until it becomes a reality in the way we live. These core issues must be settled in trust within: our security, our life circumstances, our basic needs, and more. Hear Julian of Norwich, a 14th century anchoress, on this subject: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
It is this deep assurance that we need to adopt, to live out, to nurture in ourselves, so that we do live, love and trust in the One who created us. To trust God in everything makes so much difference in our ability to enjoy all that life has for us and how we feel about everything: it brings us love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, all fruit of the Spirit.** These are not qualities we have to work to incorporate, these are the gifts from living in the Spirit of God. This is the promise of the kingdom, not sometime in the distant future, but the reality of a life lived in, with and for God, the Life of the Spirit.