When we last left our hero (Jesus, of course), in my December 2015, Practical Steps to Fill Your Grace Well, New Evangelizers column, He was calling us to be strengthened through the Scriptures. To be honest, many years ago I thought I knew what it meant to be Catholic. Being Catholic was a duty to perform but never a life to be embraced or a relationship to be fostered. I could not have been more off the mark. Scripture was the key that opened that locked door of ignorance in my seeking heart and changed my life forever.
I want to share five of my 'go-to' verses that often help fill my grace well and perhaps will bless you as well.
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
How often I look at the current circumstances of my life and wonder – does God REALLY have a plan for my good in this mess? As I struggle to wiggle out from the burdens and anxieties of this world, it is very hard to believe in the promise found here in Jeremiah. Then I remember the hope of my future is not for this world but for one in Heaven. We will not be abandoned. God is with us and He has promised us eventually it will all work out – that is our hope.
“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
There is no beating around in this verse – St. Paul is clear what will bring us peace. He throws around words like ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. However, in my state of worry I usually mix them up, having anxiety about EVERYTHING and not bringing ANYTHING to prayer. So much can steal our peace – illness, finances, teenagers – even the innocuous words of a friend. Bring it to Jesus. Maybe the answers will not be exactly what you expected o hoped but you can be assured it will always result in a peace that is beyond understanding.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
How do I stray from my path? So often detoured – tempted and distracted along the way. In all things and with all my heart – I will praise and thank the Lord. I will trust in His way!
1 Peter 5:7
“Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you."
was a fisherman. When he went fishing, he would cast a large net over the side of the boat and wait. When he speaks these words of comfort to us, casting is meant as an image of giving it all to God and letting him take care of whatever is bringing you woe. I am a fisherman too, but I bring a rod and reel. I cast and reel back in, again and again. This is how I approach trusting God. I cast the trouble, then wait (or not) and take it back. May I trust like St. Peter instructs; confident in God’s care of me.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?”
Worrying certainly does not extend a life; stress can actually have the opposite effect. Worrying never solved a problem nor has it brought peace. Anxiety paralyzes. The lesson here – realizing that God knows what you need well before you have even thought it. While we may go without things we want, God promises we’ll always have what we need.
Column first appeared on the NewEvangelizers, January 2016.
All scripture taken from Revised Standard Version on Biblegateway.com.
Copyright 2016, Allison Gingras