Sunday, 8/13/17 – Providence

God will provide. I frequently say this, and my wife, frequently, gets annoyed when I do. But I truly believe that no matter what it is, if we have the trust, and the faith, God will provide a solution. I believe in His Providence. Countless times, I’ve been blessed by His Providence. I know you have too.

Last weekend, my family and I went to see a Saint. Not two hours from where we live is the Shrine of St. Theodore Guerin, at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on the very western edge of the state of Indiana. But it is more than a shrine. It is where she lived. It is where she did her work, God’s work. It is where she came, in complete faith, to the back woods of Indiana, the frontier at the time, faithful in God’s plan for her. And it is where she is buried, in a chapel, simple, but beautiful.

I didn’t know much about her up to this visit, but she had so many struggles, so many challenges she had to face – poor conditions, poor health, political and cultural strife. I’m sure fellow author on this website, Julie Young , could shed a lot more insight as she attended St. Mary-of-the-Woods and has also written a book on St. Theodore Guerin.

But as was the name of her Order, and the one she was helping to grow here in the United States, this Sister of Providence truly did believe in God’s Providence – the protective care and guidance of God – for her and those under her care, and those they were serving. God constantly provided. I was so touched by this visit, this pilgrimage, and the spiritual grace I felt there and brought back with me. I cannot wait to go back again, we are so blessed to have a gem such as this, so close.

But it is this Providence that continues to amaze me, that I know is always there, but that I forget about from time to time, reminding me that God is always there, providing, caring, making Himself known to us, providing a way, offering help.

And so I read the readings for today – God comes to Elijah not in a great way, not in a loud, amazing and boisterous event, but in the silence, a whisper in the wind.

The disciples, are then in a boat on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus is not with them as He went off to pray. A storm comes up, and tosses the boat about, the disciples are afraid. We heard this reading on Tuesday of this past week. Jesus comes, walking to them on the water. Peter asks Jesus to tell him to come to Him – out on the water. Jesus tells Peter to come, and Peter takes a leap in faith and follows Jesus, out on the sea, only to then be overcome with fear and begins to sink.

“Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

But there is something to this Providence, His foreseeing protection and care for us.

Many times, we think that God will come to us, in some great magnificent event or way, with great signs and sounds, like Elijah. But God’s love comes in a whisper, a light breeze.

So often, we want Jesus to simply to tell us what He wants us to do, to say “Come”, and then we follow, like Peter. But even then, our faith is easily shaken.

I read a quote from Mother Theodore, where she said in whoever she was speaking or writing to that, “you yourself are often the cause of what you suffer.”  Peter stepped out of the boat, in faith, and for a slit second was walking on the water with Jesus. But he let fear get in the way and he started to sink. We all make choices that cause us to lose our focus, that shake our faith, and cause us to sink.

Sometimes we ourselves bring upon the storms in our lives, and other times we simply encounter storms that cause us to lose faith. But we choose to follow our fear rather than our faith in God and His Providence. We often cause our own problems.

But yet we also have the choice – the choice to yell out when things get bad, when we’re lost in fear and have our doubts – “Lord, save me!”

And Jesus is there, in our midst, reaching His hand out to help us. Jesus is that Providence. Not only being there when we call out, but providing solutions beyond the horizon that we cannot see, constantly walking the seas ahead of us, protecting us, providing a way.

The challenge is trusting in that Providence from the very start, believing in that very fact that God will provide no matter what happens, we just have to have that faith to walk on that water with Him, alongside Him, letting His Providence guide us, instead of letting our lives be overcome with fear, the “what if…”, and flailing and splashing and wasting all of our energy trying to save ourselves, and then finally screaming out for God to save us. Think about how much energy – physical and spiritual – that we waste on this.

The challenge is taking that energy and focusing it on God and His ultimate Providence for us, calmly living intensely in the present moment, trusting in Him, letting it guide us through our lives. It will not take away the trials and suffering, but we will have a calmness, a calmness in the storm, knowing that it is all for a Higher Purpose.

Today’s readings for Mass.

About the Author

My name is Joe LaCombe, and I am a writer in Indianapolis, Indiana in the USA. My amazing wife Kristy and I have been married for 15 years and we have an awesome little boy, Joseph, who is in 1st Grade! We are members of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Carmel, Indiana where we volunteer with Adult Faith Formation, most recently with the marriage enrichment ministries. To see adults, and married couples embrace the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is a beautiful thing, and being able to tap into my experiences and bring the message of God to people through the written word is a passion of mine. I am an avid runner! I love to run and be out in the nature that God created, so you will find me running not only on sunny days, but rainy days, and even snow! I love to train for and compete in distance races, and find a deep spirituality in running, and I see distinct parallels between running and spirituality and life. I am excited and extremely blessed to be able to contribute to this website and look forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences!

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  1. Hello Joe. Thanks for the reflection. I can relate. Have gracefilled week at work and your family!

  2. OK Joe, I hear and I believe in divine guidance and intervention. However, I have much consternation about God’s discrimination. This past week a mother stabbed her children, killing all but one. That represents an incomprehensible storm, and eludes all understanding in being part of God’s plan. How are we to realize His presence and calmness in the midst of this atrocity?

  3. Joe, awesome reminder to always trust in the Lord. It saddened me to read brother Jack’s storm. It is in these storms that doubt and trust in God rocks our boats(lives). In 1973. I was a young GI stationed thousands of miles away from home. I was given a copy of The Followings of Christ by a very special lady named Mary. Inside she wrote “Always trust in the Lord.”Your prayers will be answered in due time. Like the footprints in the sand, God has always been there for me in the storms of my journey.

  4. Every words you said have deepen my spirit to God words of love.i believe in God providence in all my needs because he is a faithful God.God is the ultimate treasury when found have to be kept.thank you jesus

  5. Hey Jack,

    Remember, it’s your relationship with God. In the end, when you are judged, it is not what others did, it is what you did. It’s up up to you to keep your eyes on the Lord, and nowhere else.

    My two cents.


  6. Thank you all for the wonderful comments. Thank you Jack, for your thoughts. I understand your pain. And the point of article is not that pain and suffering and storms in life are part of God’s plan, because they are not. Here is a great video from Fr. Mike Schmitz on this that explains it better than any way I can. My point in my reflection is that amidst all these storms and trials in life that occur, that we cannot explain or do not understand why they happen, God is there to provide strength and grace to help us through it – and His foreseeing care to help us through these times. Thats the hope I have.

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