Growing in Trust in the Lord – Advent 2023


God wills our good and is intrinsically trustworthy. Though we often have trouble trusting Him as He calls us to, we can grow in trust by working on our awareness of the ways He has cared for us and others in the past.

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Reflective Study Guide Questions

“If God so clothes the grass of the field… will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?”

Mt. 6:30

1. Deanna points out that faithfulness is an attribute of God. It would be against His nature to be unfaithful. How can knowing this impact your trust in Him?

2. In the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis, we can see an example of God bringing good out of a terrible situation. Joseph even sees that God made use of his brother’s sins to bring about good. When have you seen the hand of God in your own life in such a way?

3. In the Gospels when Jesus feeds the crowds of thousands of people, His disciples have concerns and fears. Do you ever feel like this when you are faced with a difficulty? How has God worked in your life despite your fears?

4.  Deanna suggests that we ask God to remind us of all the times He has taken care of us in our lives and that we make a list of those times. What might be on your list?

Text: Growing in Trust in the Lord

Hello everyone, I’m Deanna Bartalini and I’m happy that you are here with us for this Pray More Advent Retreat. Today our topic is growing in the trust of the Lord. So we’re going to begin prayer and then we’ll get started on our topic.

Opening Prayer

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Father God, we come before you during this most holy season of Advent and we ask for your intercession and we ask for your blessing. We ask you to be with us as we grow closer to understanding who Jesus is in our lives and how we can turn always to you to trust, to grow in our faithfulness, and to put you first in our lives. We ask you to be with us not only in this retreat time, but as we do and go about our daily life. We ask all this in your son’s name. Amen. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

God is Trustworthy

Thanks for being here with us. I want to talk first about what does it mean to trust? We talk about can we trust someone or this person trustworthy. There are people we trust, we trust ourselves, we trust other people, and then we want to trust God. And typically the way we learn and come to trust people is based on outcomes. People tell us things and they follow through on their word.

Well, God tells us things, but we don’t always necessarily hear them in the same way that we hear other people speaking. And it’s important to remember that, that we trust based on outcomes, not people’s good thoughts or good wishes or plans, but an actual what happens in the end. That’s what we’re looking at, right? And so, if we can look at that in terms of God, I think we’re going to learn a little bit about how we can see that He is worthy of our trust and how we can grow in that trust and turn to Him always.

Reflections on the Catechism of The Catholic Church

First of all, why do we say God is trustworthy? Well, this is not my word. First we’re going to look to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and then we’re going to look at scripture. So in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, number 305, it talks about Jesus, what Jesus says about his father, and it says this. It says, “Jesus asks for childlike abandonment to the providence of God who takes care of his children’s smallest needs.” Also in the Catechism number 305, Matthew 6:30 is quoted, and I’m going to read that. “If God so closed the grass of the field which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will He not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?” “Will He not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?”

I’m going to get to that in a minute. I want to talk about divine providence and we’re going to go to another Catechism verse, which is number 2547. And in there it says that we can abandon ourselves to the providence of God, the Father in heaven. And when we do that, God frees us from anxiety about tomorrow, which is so related to that Matthew verse. Now, so it’s divine providence. In other words, God is trustworthy and God wants our good. He only wants our good. He created us for good and only wants and wills our good. It may not always seem that everything that is happening in our life is good, but it will turn out for good.

An Invitation to Grow In Your Faith

In that Matthew verse, when Jesus says, “O you of little faith”, first when I read that I thought, uh oh, that’s a little bit of a rebuke, it’s a little bit of a criticism there. And then I thought to myself, I’m not going to take it that way. I’m going to take that as an invitation, as an invitation to grow in my faith, to how to see to learn how I can grow in my faith. Because I don’t want Jesus to say to me, O you of little faith, I want Jesus to say to me, O you of great faith. O you who has great trust in my Father. Don’t we all want to be able to say that that we have great trust in the Father and that we have great faith? How are we going to do this? I just can’t say, oh, I want you to have great faith. And there you go, poof, you have it. It doesn’t work that way, does it?

Let’s think about this. How has God shown His faithfulness to you? First of all, it’s important to know that faithfulness is an attribute or a characteristic of God. It is who He is. He cannot be unfaithful or untrustworthy. It is His very nature to be faithful to those He loves and created and He loves and created you. And so He is going to be faithful to you in all ways, always. This is why that we can trust without fear. We can trust without fear.

Now, think about this. I’m sure that there have been times in your life that you have been afraid. I’m not talking like afraid, there’s somebody hiding under your bed or a scary movie kind of afraid, I’m talking about the afraid that says, how is the situation going to turn out? Is it going to turn out for good? Is it all going to crash and burn? What’s going to happen? And sometimes God takes care of us very quickly, right? You’re driving and you avoid a car accident, but sometimes God takes care of us slowly over time. In our humanity, we sometimes have difficulty with the slowly over time part, right? Because we want to know the answer and we want to know it now.

A Story When God Showed His Faithfulness

Well, I want to tell you a story from my own life where God showed His faithfulness and that He can be trusted. Over couple of months period of time, about 20, 22 years ago, we were buying a house, this house actually, and we were selling our house we were living in, and we are moving here to this house, and everything was going great. Everything was going through just textbook, no wrinkles, no problems, no issues, both in the selling and the buying.

Then all of a sudden my husband loses his job. And so we have some anxiety going on because the mortgage is of course contingent not only on selling our house that we’re living in, but on two incomes. So I was working, but now we’re going to have half of our income. But things keep moving and that they tell us it’s not a problem. And we’re like, okay, we’re moving forward, we’re trusting, we keep praying and we keep going. I lose my job. So, now I’m thinking, okay, this is it. We’re not moving because who’s going to give two unemployed people a mortgage?

Well, it turned out that we were still able to buy the house. I’m not going to pretend to be able to explain to you the financial reasons why. It was God. And I believe that a hundred percent. God helped us buy this house. He was faithful. He knew our needs, He knew our desires, and He knew our reasons. And so He made sure it happened.

Now, that’s my story. You have stories. You all have your own story, hopefully more than one, and we’re going to talk about that later on. There’s also the stories of scripture, and those are timeless. And those have literally withstood the test of time. So I’m going to tell you two stories, one from the Old, one from the New Testament.

The Story of Joseph

The Old Testament is the story of Joseph from Genesis. So the last few chapters of the book of Genesis, are devoted to Joseph. Very briefly, Joseph was sold by his brothers. And then the brothers told his father that Joseph was killed. His father was very, very sad, distraught. All his life, he missed his son Joseph. Joseph was eventually brought into Egypt, series of events where Joseph could have gotten into a lot of trouble, could have been killed.

But Joseph always stayed faithful to God, to the word that he knew to be true and to the God he knew who was faithful and trustworthy. And because of that, Joseph eventually rose to become Pharaoh’s secondhand man. And fast forwarding here, there’s a famine where Joseph’s family is. And so they come to Egypt because they have heard about this man. The brothers go to Joseph, and Joseph immediately recognizes his brothers. The brothers do not recognize him. And through it all, Joseph keeps going to God and keeps trusting in what He is telling him. So he keeps moving forward.

And again, total synthesis here. Family comes to Joseph in Egypt, they’re reunited. It’s a wonderful thing. Joseph is able to care and take care of his family and bury his father. After the father dies, the brothers yet again concoct some story because that’s who they are. They’re not quite as trustworthy as Joseph and certainly not as trustworthy as God.

What happens is they go to Joseph and they say to him, Joseph, dad wanted us to be sure to check in with you that you were going to take care of us. And Joseph says to him, I’m going to quote, this is Genesis 50:20, “Even though you meant to harm me, God meant it for good to achieve this present end, the survival of many people.”

Whatever his brothers did to him, all of the things that happened to Joseph in his life, God meant them and used them for good, for the survival of many people. That’s how God works. He was trustworthy in Joseph’s life through the whole of his life and Joseph saw that and he honored God because of that.

The Story of the Feeding of 4000-5000

I want to tell you from the New Testament. The feeding of the 4,000 and 5,000. So there’s three, excuse me, four different places where you can find these. Matthew 14, 13, 22. And then begins, takes up right again, 14, 23, 33. And then in Mark chapter 6, 34-44, and Mark chapter 8, verses 1 – 10. In all of these stories, the similarities are that they’re in a vast place, Jesus has been preaching, teaching, healing, and the people need food.

And Jesus turns to his disciples and says we need to feed the people. And the disciples don’t have the best answer, but Jesus does because Jesus always has the best answer. And so he takes the offering that they give him, these two fish and five loaves, and he gives them to the people. And these five loaves and two fish seem very small and very insignificant, but they are given with love and trust to Jesus. And he takes them and he blesses them and breaks them. And all the people eat and are satisfied. And both Matthew and Mark used those words, “ate and satisfied”, the people ate and were satisfied.

And not only were they satisfied, but there was an overabundance of leftovers. There is no telling how many people were fed that day because it didn’t include the women and children in that 4,000 and 5,000 number. It was an enormous number of people. And there was an overabundance because of what Jesus did. He took what was given to him with love and trust, and he gave it back because that’s who Jesus is.

Jesus Provides For Us

Now, who are the disciples in that story? Well, they were kind of a little bit like us. They had some complaints, they had some concerns, and they were legitimate, but they forgot who they were with. What were their concerns? There’s not enough. There’s just not enough of these loaves and fish to go around, and we don’t have any money to go buy food. And even if we did have money to go buy food, where would we get this much food out in the middle of nowhere? And you know what? Let these people just take care of themselves.

I know that I have spoken that way when God has given me a big task, when he has asked me to step out in faith and to trust Him in something he needs for me to do. I can’t do what I say. I don’t have the resources, I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money, I don’t have the experience, I don’t, I can’t, I won’t. Or maybe I say, I don’t want the responsibility, kind of all the things that disciples say. And Jesus answers those concerns. He says, “If you give me what you have, I’m going to honor that and I’m going to give you an abundance.”

Jesus just doesn’t give us enough, He gives us more because that is who He is. Because if we believe we can’t, we can’t. If we believe we have little faith, we have little faith. Whatever we believe, whether we believe we can or we believe we can’t, it is true. If we believe Jesus is going to be with us and give us an overabundance of what we need when we turn to Him in trust, then that is what is going to happen. Do you believe that we have scarcity or that we have an abundance? What is the mindset? Do we have fear or do we have trust?

How to Grow In Trust

I propose that we all can grow and trust if we remember who Jesus is and who God is, especially in that beautiful story of the feeding of the 5,000 and in the story of Joseph. Faithfulness, the overabundance with which God and Jesus supplied Joseph’s needs and the people’s needs when there was love and trust when people turned to them to begin with.

So how are we going to grow in trust? Because I can’t just say, oh, just do it. I’m going to tell you how I have grown in trust and how I believe you can grow in trust. Start paying attention to God’s actions in your life.

So at the end of the day, ask yourself this question, where have I seen God acting in my life today? Where have I seen Him? How has He worked in my life? And then another suggestion, very tangible, very practical. Be faithful to the sacraments. Be faithful to prayer. Be faithful to reading His word. I am able to have the trust I have in God. And I don’t mean to tell you in any way that is always enough, and that I always go right to this place, but I know that I am able to trust in Him because I spend time in the word. And that word stays with me and reminds me to trust. The sacraments give us grace, especially the sacraments of confession and Holy Eucharist. So stay faithful. Sacraments, prayer, and scripture.

And then what I want you to consider is to think over these next few weeks of Advent, to sit down a couple of times with a journal or notebook and ask God to remind you, to show you of all the times that He has taken care of you in your life. Big things and small things, write them down.

So the next time you have to trust God with something big, go back to that list. Say, oh, look, He did this, this, this, and this and it’s going to be a long list. And depending on how old you are, it’s going to be super long. If you’re younger, it’ll be a little shorter. But you’re going to have a list of how God has been faithful in your life. And so every time you are tempted then to not trust, to not turn to Him, to not believe that He will be faithful to you, look at that list, go to His word and you’ll find what you are looking for.

So if I were going to give you a homework assignment, that’s what it would be. Consider doing that in your prayer time this Advent season. I think it’ll be most fruitful and beneficial and an amazing way to grow in trusting. Thank you for being here with me. I hope that this has been helpful to you. And we’re going to close now in prayer.

Closing Prayer

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Father God, I thank you for this time together. I thank you for all these people that you have brought together to want, who want to learn, to grow in trusting you, to knowing who you are, and how you are acting in their life. I ask you to be with us and teach us always to love you. We ask all this in your son’s name. Amen. In the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

About Deanna G. Bartalini

Deanna G. Bartalini, M.Ed.; M.P.A., is a certified spiritual director, speaker, and writer. She has served in parish ministry as a religious education director, youth minister, liturgical coordinator, and stewardship director.

Deanna has been married to Deacon John for 40 years and they are blessed with four grandchildren. She is the founder of Her Not Lukewarm Podcast gives you tips and tools to live out your faith in your daily life.

She writes for,, Women in the New Evangelization (WINE) and Deanna wrote a bible study, The Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women, Invite the Holy Spirit into your Life, contributed to the Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, and Digital Ministry and Leadership in Today’s Church.

You can find Deanna: through her website, on her Facebook page, and Instagram.