“Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?” – Matthew 6:26
Von Hildebrand alludes to this scripture passage in beginning a chapter entitled “God Always Provides.” While reading, I thought this simple message and practical advice came at a perfect time…finals week. There is no other time on a college campus when students experience so much stress. It is sometimes difficult not to lose sight of trusting in God in these times.Von Hildebrand tells us that concern and lack of trust are ways in which we serve two masters. With a do-it-yourself mentality and distorted understanding of independence, our culture has fostered a mindset that says everything must be done by one’s own labor and under one’s own control. However, God invites us to be free from the concerns and worries that enslave us.
In my personal life, as perhaps some of you can relate, I have been absorbed by the “résumé attitude.” Thinking I have to do this so I can get into that. And I have to get good grades in this so that I can get into that college. I have to do this in college so that I can get a job and be successful. Once I have the job, I must do x, y, and z to move up in the ranks, etc. The list goes on.
This syllogism of abc’s to xyz’s is indeed worrisome, but it doesn’t have to be. Certainly we should have ambition and have a glimpse into what our future should entail; however, worrying about how to climb the tree will not produce the fruit. Von Hildebrand articulates the balance of being prudent in your responsibilities but not allowing the outward concerns in life to overcome you, after all, “Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan?” (Matthew 6:27)
Surely, we shouldn’t expect God to help us without putting in any effort; yet, von Hildebrand says that if God has placed a desire in your heart to achieve a task, you should be fully confident in God’s care. In saints, we can see radical examples of extreme trust in God with full knowledge that he will provide. He uses the example of men and women who take the vow of poverty. They willingly give up their coat, as St. Martin, or their possessions, as St. Francis, or their money and time, as Mother Teresa, completely trusting that God will provide for them. There is freedom in this trust, for you are not enslaved by the bondage of worry or concern. It is in these examples that we can learn the simple yet profound truth that “God is sufficient.”
Rather than allowing ourselves to be “submerged by our own concern for the outward necessity,” we should “seek to comprehend the particular call of God to us.”
Von Hildebrand, Dietrich. Confidence in God. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute, 1997. Print. Page 51We can submit ourselves into the abyss of God’s mercy, knowing that we often lose the natural security of our outward existence. Von Hildebrand advises that above all, we must preserve our inner freedom, keeping in mind the one essential thing: “Seek first the kingdom of God… and all these things will be given you.”On their journey, the Israelites were guided by a pillar of fire at night and a pillar of cloud by day. The eternal, never-changing God provided for His people then; therefore, we should not doubt his active work in us today. Whether your source of stress is exams, work or wondering how you’ll make ends meet, do your best and God will undoubtedly do the rest.
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