Do you want to know how to grow in trusting God? Jason Angelette teaches us about God’s plan for us and how to discern with God what the steps in God’s plan for you might be and how to take those steps with hope and trust.
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Printable Study Guide PDF
Printable Transcript PDF
Reflective Study Guide Questions
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?”Matthew 6:25
- How does Jason emphasize the importance of trusting in God’s plan, despite the challenges we face? How does this message resonate with your personal experiences?
- Reflect on the Divine Mercy image of Jesus and the inscription “Jesus I trust in You.” How does this visual representation impact your understanding of surrendering to God’s will?
- Reflect on moments when you tried to take control and steer your own path, only to find greater peace and success when you surrendered to God’s plan.
- What steps can you take to make “Jesus I trust in You” not just a phrase, but a heartfelt affirmation that guides your thoughts, actions, and responses to challenges in life?
Text: Trusting the Lord and Discerning His Will
A Big Leap of Faith
So today I want to talk about how to grow in trusting in God, that God has a plan for us and how to discern with God what the steps might be in your life and how to take those steps with hope. In the first year of our marriage, I felt the Lord calling Elise and I to make a big leap of faith. As I said before, Elise knocked me off my horse. I was far away in my faith and her witness was so beautiful and inspiring that I wanted to also have that joy and confidence and peace that seemed to just radiate from her.
As I began to learn more about the faith, who God is, learning the whys behind the what’s, I was captivated by this and I wanted more. I began to learn that all these things that God was calling us to do, all those do’s and don’ts of the faith, were not trying to repress my freedom but rather help guide me into the truth and love that our hearts were made for. I soon felt this calling in my heart to go get a master’s in theology to better understand the faith, live the faith, and be more of the man God was calling me to be. As I was ready to quit my job, sell the house, ask Elise to quit her job and move to Washington DC so that I could get a master’s specifically in theological studies at the Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at Catholic University, Elise tells the story a little differently, but she said that I broke the news to her on the beach on our honeymoon. After hearing this bombshell of a statement, she got up, went to the bar, came back with two drinks in her hand and then looked at me and said, “Did you want one?”
I don’t remember my timing being that bad, but I do remember talking to her a little bit about this, but regardless, this was a very tough request. Elise had received her degree in early childhood development, just got a job working at the same school she went to when she was little. I had just graduated from college, just got a promotion, and we’d just bought this really nice home in this quiet little subdivision, and now I’m coming in, and I want to sell the house, leave the jobs, break all the connections, move far from friends and family and from home so that I can get a master’s in a field that I’ve never studied in and more than likely end up with a job with a serious pay cut.
Going through Discernment
Two things needed to happen. We needed to really discern if this was something that God wanted us to do and if it was, to trust that God would provide in all the uncertainties that seemed to keep popping up the more we talked about it. Although I did have a huge pull in my heart to do this, I still had a lot of uncertainty to all of this. I had never done anything like this before. Was God really calling us to do this or was this just coming from me? How are we going to afford this? How am I going to do this? My educational background is in health promotion and exercise science and now I’m stepping into a field of theology, anthropology and philosophy.
With regard to the trusting part, I don’t know if the Lord has done this with you before, but for me, this came very apparent by speaking a particular passage over and over again. It was like everywhere I went, I kept hearing this passage from chapter six of Matthew’s Gospel. It goes like this, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 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? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wildflowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you, that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothed 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? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ Or, ‘What are we to drink?’ Or, ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things, the pagan seeks. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given you besides.”
These words kept coming back to me and by the grace of God, I began to see that these words were not just spoken to the disciples but they were said for me too. He is our heavenly Father. He cares for us more than the flowers and the birds, and we’re His children. He is calling us to not worry about the Father leaving us, but He is calling us to seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and then all these will be provided for you. As the peace kept coming, a strong sense of trust in God was inspiring me forward.
Turning to Prayer
I was noticing that Elise and I needed to talk more about this decision. This whole thing was tough. Even though I was getting more and more peace and confidence in this, it was causing tension and strife between the two of us. I remember hearing from a wise couple that if it is not good for the both of you, it is not good for either of you. This isn’t the whole happy wife, happy life thing. True happiness is not in seeking happiness for its own sake nor is it in avoiding conflict. I’m thankful to Elise that she did express concern and that we talked about what she was struggling with, and it caused us to really see if this was something that God was calling us to do or not.
Because of my love for Elise and my love for God, I did not want to just take an easy road. I didn’t want to say to Elise, “You know, you need to get over it, we’re going.” And I didn’t want to tell God, “Hey, look, she’s not listening, so I’m out.” Either one was a weak response as a husband and as a Christian. This was for both of us an invitation to wrestling with a difficult decision and to make a decision based not on what I wanted or what she wanted but coming together, trusting in God and like our Lord said in His agony, “Not My will be done, but Your will be done.”
So, we turned to prayer. “Lord, help us, show us, lead us, guide us.” For days, this was our constant request for clarity, for peace in knowing and doing God’s will. In those days of prayer, we both began to let go of the tug of war rope that we were holding onto, and started to seeing a little clear that I was not trying to pull her away from what she wanted and she wasn’t trying to hold me back from what I wanted. Little by little by the grace of God we both began to see clearly that He was calling us to move but He was also pressing on to me not to get so caught up in this pursuit that I would leave my wife behind in the dust. I remember a professor of mine telling me, “Jason, if you get straight A’s in my class, but you neglect your wife, you have failed in my book.” Yes, as a husband, I am the head of the household but that position, as our Lord taught, is one at the service of the other. The Lord said, “I have come not to be served but to serve and to offer My life as a ransom for many. I am not called to force My will onto anyone but to do the will of My Father, to lead in love in gentleness and in humility.”
A Struggle Since the Beginning
Elise again inspired me so much because even though we both saw clearly that this was God’s plan, she still didn’t have that same excitement that I had, but regardless, she trusted God knowing that He would not abandon us and that this was going to be a huge blessing for us and our marriage. And thanks be to God, it was, more than we could imagine. Trusting in God has got to be one of the most important actions we have in our relationship with God.
The struggle in the very beginning with Adam and Eve was a lack of trust in God that He was indeed a good, good Father who was not keeping something from them but who loved them and wanted what was best for them. This attack on the relationship between God and man is at the forefront of Satan’s mind. Satan wants to abolish fatherhood, as I heard it said, he wants to destroy us, and he does that by cutting us off from the love of God by making us think that God is not there for us, that He does not hear us, that He does not have time for us, that He will not give us what our hearts are longing for.
Satan wants us to think that our pain is a sign that God has abandoned us, and we have lost His favor. He plays this song on repeat, and if we give ear to it long enough then we find ourselves in some very dark places. Apart from God, we can do nothing. The branch broken off from the vine withers. The sheep that leaves the flock and the protection and safety of the shepherd will be devoured by the wolves. A tree not planted without being watered does not bear fruit. All these analogies points to the one fact that our existence has never made sense apart from God. We are His children. That is why the little children are so great in the kingdom because they let God be their Daddy. They trust that God will provide, so they turn to Him. They hear the voice of their Father and listen and when things are troublesome, they run to the Father and jump into the arms of the one who will protect them.
Take Inspiration From St. Faustina
I think it’s beautiful that in the image that was given to us by St. Faustina of the Divine Mercy where the rays of light of white and red are pouring out from the pierced side of our Lord, the Lord asks that these words be included. “Jesus, I trust in you.” She writes in her diary words that our Lord gave her which are, “The graces of my mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only. That is trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive.” I believe that the more we, by God’s grace, avail ourselves to His love for us, the more we begin to see that love and then trust in Him, we begin to see that He is not out to get us but rather wants to give us more than we can possibly imagine. St. Faustina wrote that “if we only knew how much we are loved by God we would die of joy and excess of happiness.”
Knowing God’s Love
If we struggle with trust, maybe it’s also a struggle of knowing God’s love. St. Francis de Sales wrote, “When did God’s love for you begin? When He began to be God. When did He begin to be God? Never. For He has always been without beginning and without end, and so He has always loved you from eternity.” Or perhaps we struggle with trust because we face so many challenges and perhaps we mistake challenges to mean that God has left us, but they are rather invitations to draw near to Him.
St. Francis de Sales also wrote, “Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then. Put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations and say continually, ‘The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart has trusted in Him and I am helped. He’s not only with me, but in me and I in Him.'”
If in our struggle, in our weaknesses and our worries and in our fears, if our first step is to by God’s grace run to Him, then we have found the way, the truth and the life. We were never meant to be in this life isolated from God and His mercy. We have a loving Father who lavishly blesses His children and provides for them. If only we trade whatever we’re holding onto and exchange it for the love, mercy, and grace, then we will have what we need to take the steps we must take to find the happiness that our hearts are longing for.
St. Paul writes, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever’s just, whatever’s pure, whatever’s lovely, whatever’s gracious, if there’s any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
About Jason Angelette
Jason Angelette received his Masters in Theological Studies from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America. Since 2007 Jason has been working as the Director of the Faith and Marriage Apostolate of the Willwoods Community which is dedicated to promoting the Sacramentality of marriage and providing for married couples opportunities for growth, enrichment, and support.
Jason is the author of a marriage enrichment program called, United in Love United in Christ. His ministry experience includes high school campus ministry, teaching theology at the high school and college level, working on and speaking at various retreats and events nationwide, Catholic podcasting, as well as co-host for a television program on WLAE entitled “Faith and Marriage Today”.
He is the father of five children. In August of 2020 his beloved (late) wife Elise received her heavenly reward after a six-year battle with breast cancer.