If we were having coffee….

You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord
Who abide in His shadow for life
Say to the Lord
“My refuge, my rock in whom I trust!”

And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings
Bear you on the breath of dawn
Make you to shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of His hand.

When they say that we must place our trust in God in the fearful times, what does that mean?  We thanked God in Mass for his protection – those of us fortunate to be there this morning.  But what about those who lost everything, even loved ones?

Lord, come to my aid!
The LORD heard my cry.
He drew me out of the pit of destruction,
out of the mud of the swamp;
he set my feet upon a crag;
he made firm my steps.

What is it that God does for us when evil destroys our crops, decimates our livestock, and takes our family?  How does he protect us?  Where is he taking us on eagles’ wings?  Where is the palm of his hand?

I’ve often railed against the platitude that God would never give a person more than he/she could handle.  If you mean that our faith could survive any test, perhaps it can.  Perhaps it can’t.  Faith is something we have only through God’s gift.  Theologically, Catholicism teaches that faith is one of those things you can’t choose one morning just because you want to.  It’s something you have to ask for.  It’s something God has to grant.

Any other interpretation of handle quickly falls apart.

What does it mean to trust in God?  Do you find”handle-ness” when you do this trusting thing?  Does it mean not caring about all the things that go wrong because you know you’re going to Heaven?  – No, Catholics don’t know that. –  Because God exists and that’s all that matters?  How can that be all that matters?  How can your worries and concerns go away because you trust in God?

As far as I can tell, I’m still going to worry about the pain and sorrow that my neighbors and friends go through as a result of this flood.  I’m always going to worry about my flaws and mistakes on the chance that it leads to my tragic outer or inner downfall.  I want to do well and I want others to be well.  Trusting in God ensures neither of those things.  It just doesn’t.  There’s no way I can know that God will give me the epiphanies I need to correct my faults and stay on the straight and narrow.

What does it mean to trust God?  What does it mean that those who love God are lifted on eagles’ wings?

In 2013, I was in a car accident.  The driver and I were alright, except for some whiplash and she had a bad headache from hitting her head.  The most significant parts of that experience were internal – how I felt and thought.  Well, so, I was dozing off when it happened.  I thought the road around us was pretty empty; she says there were cars all around us and that it’s a miracle we didn’t hit anyone when we hydroplaned and skidded back and forth across the highway before coming to a stop in the median.  Either way, it struck me that people drove by at a million miles an hour on the highway and nobody stopped to help us.  The world went on unfeeling.

That’s sort of how I feel about this flood too.  So many of us have lost our homes, some schools and businesses are closed indefinitely, and many more of us are waiting anxiously to see if we’ll be next.  And the world goes on focusing on the surprise marriage of two celebrities I’ve never heard of, goes on releasing trailers for crap movies, goes on craning to see Justin Bieber.

It’s a weird feeling.  It makes me feel a lot more present to the tragedies of the past, but not nearly as present as I should have been at the time.  And it continues to make me wonder what life is all about.  Sometimes I feel like I’m close to an answer.  And sometimes I feel like I’m at the bottom of Prince Malchiah’s muddy cistern.