What do you do when facing a big trial that makes you feel your life will never be the same again? How can you receive help from God? The trial could be: the loss of a job that was very fulfilling for you, a life-threatening sickness, the loss of a loved one, separation, divorce, discouragement, bad things happening to your sons and daughters, to your parents, or to your spouse.
These things could lead you to lose your trust in God, and your faith in him. But this is when you need to trust God the most.
First, become aware that Jesus went through very big trials, greater than yours. At Gethsemane, Jesus “began to be grieved and agitated”. (Mark 14:33) He said to Peter and the two sons of Zebedee “I am deeply grieved, even unto death, remain here, and stay awake with me.” (Matthew 26:38) Throwing himself on the ground, and praying, he said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet not what I want, but what you want.” (Mark 14:36)
Therefore, remember Jesus went through an even greater trial than yours. So that you may know that he can pull you out of it. The Father can do everything. If he doesn’t give you what you want, he will give you something better, in this life or in the next, as he did for Jesus.
Secondly, know that even Jesus needed the support of Peter, James and John. He said to them, “Stay awake with me” (v.38) So you too, need help. There is no shame in asking for someone to help us. Jesus did it himself.
Thirdly, know that even in his deepest sorrow, Jesus cared for others. He consoled the women of Jerusalem, his mother Mary, his disciple. He forgave those who were killing him, those who betrayed them. You too, in the midst of your trial, can help someone carry his burden, and God will help you carry yours. Forgive even those who could be partly responsible for your trial. Forgive just with your mind, now, if it is not possible with your whole heart.
Fourthly, remember you are never alone; Jesus is your strength. He is in you like a “spring of living water, gushing up into eternal life” (John 4) You may still feel like dry bones, but the Risen Jesus is already pulling you out of the grave. Open your hand so that he might take it. You are in the hands of Jesus who told you: “Those the Father has given me, nobody can snatch them out of my hands.” (John 10:28)
Finally, ask Jesus or the Father, to show you the big picture. Certainly, God allowed this trial so that you may be strengthened and transformed into his likeness.
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
God bless you! Fr. Pierre