We Are Asked Simply to Trust
April 1, 2023
Grace Episcopal Church (Nampa, Idaho)
A friend of mine told me long ago that I had “far-seeing eyes”. “You see things that others don’t”, he explained. “You can see ahead much farther than most people do. You have far-seeing eyes”.
No one had ever said anything like that to me before so it gave me pause. When I thought about it, I realized that my brain does seem to be able to take the current facts and circumstances and predict the most likely consequences. I’m pretty good with “if this, then that”. And, from time to time I have somehow been able to see clearly what lies ahead when, for others, the way is obscured. Occasionally. there are things I simply know. How or why, I cannot say, so maybe my friend is right. Maybe I do have “far-seeing eyes”.
But here’s the thing. Sometimes I can’t see ahead at all and for someone like me, someone who is used to seeing, to knowing the way, this is debilitating. It’s like finding myself in deep darkness. Where I used to walk boldly, even skip or run, I now shuffle slowly, hands outstretched searching for some kind of clue as to where I am and where I am going. It takes all my energy to battle back the terror that tells me to stop or better yet, run back the way I came.
I think about that today, the day before Palm Sunday, because at some point I realized that this was, on that final week of his earthly life, what Jesus experienced. Mostly, more often than not, I think he could see clearly the path God set before him. He knew what to do, what to say, how to encourage. He could see the world as God created it to be and he lived boldly into that reality. He walked with God and in some small way he could see what God saw and know what God knew. And this knowing led him to understand that he had to go to Jerusalem. He had to stand up for who he was and what he believed. But there, I think, the “knowing” stopped. I think the closer he got to Jerusalem, the less clearly his “far-seeing eyes” could see.
I don’t think, in his final days, Jesus could see beyond his call to go and trust God. And the marvel and the wonder for me is that he went anyway. He stepped boldly, and, in many ways, blindly forward because the Lord God asked him to. And it was exciting. And it was exhilarating. And it was dangerous. And it was deadly. And it was terrifying. And it was, in the end, just him, alone with the pain and the doubt and the darkness. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” he cries in this moment of utter despair.
Jesus has gone beyond even where God can go and is alone, alone with only his faith. And that faith somehow reaches down and catches him, restores him to hope and clarity. “Yet you are holy”, the psalm he quotes continues, “You are he who took me from my mother’s womb and since then you have been my God.” In that darkness, that utter empty darkness, faith alone sets Jesus’ feet firmly on the way forward and he walks through death to the threshold of eternal life. And there, we know, he flings open the door and the light of his life, the light of God, is bright enough to overcome any darkness. Like Jesus, we don't need to see. We don't need to know. Sometimes, always, we are asked simply to trust.