Yet not a hair of your head will perish.
By your endurance you will gain your lives. -Luke 21:18
God’s Providence means that God’s loving care surrounds us at every moment of our lives. It is told that it was a custom in one of the tribes of Native Americans that a young man had to go through a testing to prove his manhood. In the dead of night, he was led by his father into the depths of the forest blindfolded. The young man was tied still blindfolded to a tree. He was left alone all the night vulnerable to animal attracts. The boy thought he was all alone and was expected to show bravery. Unknown to him his father was close by to protect him if danger approached.
I believe this gives us a metaphor of the protective presence of God in our scary moments. We might feel that “God hides His Face” in our troubles. The face was used as an image of God’s presence. “Here is looking at you!” Often in the Psalms the author prays: “Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake (Hebrew:ʿāzab to abandon) me, God my Savior.” Ps 27:9 Praise to His mercy He does not abandon us in our troubles!
We must trust in this caring presence of God. He only seems to abandon us, to hide His face. He is close and only seems to be away. He is only encouraging us to trust in His deep love for us! In our deepest anxious moments, He gives us the biggest opportunity to make our greatest act of loving confidence. Like the young man tied and blind in the story we grow into a beautiful reckless bravery of trust. Love cannot really grow without challenging scary problems. “By your endurance you will gain your lives.”
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.