We do not believe in a distant God, a God who sits back and watches His creation unfold like a reality TV show; neither do we believe in a God who toys with His creation, as did the gods of the Greeks and Romans of old. We believe in a God that is radically involved with us, who provides for our needs out of an unfathomable love for us. He loves us not merely as a benevolent ruler, but as a Father.
So often, especially of late with civil unrest, terrorist violence, and a disappointing presidential race, many are discouraged and afraid that we will be overcome by all that the world throws at us. We have enough going on in our personal lives, never mind all else that we see reported in the news. The waves of uncertainty surge all about us, and the sea of despair closes in; where is God?
Many of us can likely identify with the disciples in our Gospel today, trapped in a small boat on a raging sea at night: is there a more perilous situation than this? When we find ourselves overwhelmed by fear and doubt, even when God shows Himself we struggle to believe it. Yet our God says to us, as He said to St. Gemma Galgani when she found herself in spiritual darkness, “…remember that after darkness comes light, and then you shall have light indeed…Take courage, for after the battle comes peace. Fidelity and love must be your necessary weapons…”
Would the same God who suffered and died for love of us abandon us completely? No! But in our distress we can easily lose sight of this and be tempted to rely upon our own powers of providence to find a way. However Jesus always enters into our storm, and calls us out upon the waters, giving us His grace and help not always by calming the storm, but by giving us the strength to tread upon its waves. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) It is when we lose sight of Jesus in our hearts—the word courage coming from the Latin for heart—that we begin to sink beneath the waves.
Take heart; do not be afraid! The same Jesus who fed thousands with a few fish and some bread will provide for your needs; the same Jesus who discourages us from hoarding wealth in this world promises a heavenly reward for those who put their trust in Him. Whatever storm may rage in this life, we are under the care of the One who walks on the sea and rebukes the wind; what have we to fear, knowing that such a God loves us?
“Do not fear what might happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will care for your tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.” -St. Francis de Sales