Temptation can be a funny thing.
I don’t mean to make light of it, believe me. After all, we don’t have to look any further than our original parents – Adam and Eve – to see how the lure of temptation can separate us from God.
And, the Gospel reading from Luke during the first Sunday of Lent makes it crystal clear where temptation originates. Jesus was greatly tempted by the devil – the Evil One – during his 40 days in the desert. He was tempted with food during his fasting, tempted with power during his solitude and tempted to test his Father in heaven while he was attempting to become closer to him.
But it seems to me the greatest temptation we face (which comes straight from the Evil One) as human beings is to not fully trust in God. We know what we want, we know when we want it (right now, please) and we definitely know what is best for us! Our lack of trust in God’s providence is really what leads us to sin.
Think about it. If we trusted in the love and presence of God in every facet of our lives, would we ever feel angry, scared, lonely, lost, anxious, jealous, impatient, envious, frustrated or helpless for very long?
I know I experience the above feelings quite often, probably many or most of them daily. That’s to be expected for us humans, because, well, we are human. But such feelings should be somewhat fleeting if we truly trust in providential God and his love and care for us.
Patience is definitely a virtue and it is one that I practiced over the past several months as I searched for my next full-time career opportunity. I watched and waited for God to provide. Opportunities came and I was ready, but God wasn’t. I found myself mired in some of the feelings I mentioned above for prolonged periods of time and I openly wondered when God was going to take action in this area of my life. I prayed hard – God knew my heart and knew that I was ready for a change, ready to use my skills and experience for his greater glory.
While God had me waiting in the employment bullpen, the devil was at times tempting me to believe that God wasn’t paying attention to me.
As always, the Evil One was wrong.
When God arrived a few weeks ago, he provided two opportunities – one along the lines of what I had done previously – and done well – in my career and one much different, but more in line with where my heart was leaning. God being God, he of course knew I was struggling mentally and spiritually with what I wanted to do next, so he gave me the opportunity to prayerfully discern between two significantly different jobs.
Ultimately, I decided to take a chance, trust God and follow my heart. I accepted the position of executive director with The Gabriel Network, a charitable organization that empowers women in crisis pregnancy situations to choose life (www.gabrielnetwork.org) . As a good friend said to me after I told him of my decision, “What better job can there be than helping to save babies?”
During Lent, we pray, we fast and we abstain from those things that lead us to sin. We strive for change, for conversion. Lent also reminds us that we have a wonderful opportunity to renew our trust in our Heavenly Father – our God who renews, sustains and carries us through the joys, struggles, heartbreaks and triumphs of life.