About 5 years ago I had the unique and incredible privilege of going on retreat with one of my all-time favorite authors, and one of the greatest (I believe) spiritual guides of this era: Fr. Jacques Philippe. To this day I still don’t even know how I stumbled into this retreat, which consisted of Fr. Jacques, myself, and about 7 other young, single women.
For three days these few women and I sat around a small table, listened to Fr. Jacques speak about life with Christ, and asked him any questions we wanted. We all were single and so naturally we all were primarily concerned with the topic singles agonize over most: vocation.
What is my vocation? How on earth do I find it? Am I where God wants me? Am I really, truly in His will? Have I somehow missed the way He had intended for me to walk? Will God ever fulfill the desires of my heart?
I know these questions all too well. And over the past several years of traveling around the globe, and connecting with thousands of other women, I’ve noticed they have the same plea: how will I ever find God’s will for my life?
I remember this same question being heavily on my heart during that retreat. So I decided to take it to Fr. Jacques. He had spoken a lot over the weekend about trust in God, but I wanted to know more concretely, how do I truly trust in God?
“Fr. Jacques,” I began, “How do I really trust in God? How do I concretely follow His will, which seems so unknown? How do I concretely trust that He’s really guiding me?”
He answered with something that forever changed me:
“Trust in life. Trust in life as life unfolds.”
The answer was so simple, but so profound. If we are surrendering our lives to Jesus each day, we can actually trust that He is letting His will be done, and that He has us exactly where He wants us. This is His Divine Providence.
Providence isn’t just material. It’s not God just providing us with money or food, or the things we need to survive. Providence is also emotional and spiritual. It’s God guiding our way, most especially when we don’t see it.
Mother Elvira Petrozzi (founder of Community Cenacolo) said: “Providence is like the sun. It rises before we wake.”
Before we even know what we need, Providence has already taken care it. Before we ask, Providence has answered. God’s Divine Providence is always a few steps ahead of us. It doesn’t follow us. It leads us. And it’s up to us to simply trust.
I’ve noticed (in my own life and in the lives of others) that one of the biggest lies of the enemy is doubt in God’s will—doubt in His Providence. The enemy whispers into each of our ears:
“You are not in God’s will. You’re not where God wants you to be. In fact, you’ve missed God’s will for your life. You’ve wrecked your life in the most irreparable way. You’ll never be where God wants you to be. God in fact has totally forgotten about and abandoned you.”
This is the lie that often the most faithful of God’s children struggle with. We know how to try very hard, we know how to do all the right things, use all the right resources in attempt to follow Christ. But we don’t know how to trust. Trust is the most difficult of all.
Another thing Fr. Jacques said on that retreat that changed my life is:
“More than your perfection, more than your success, more than anything, God simply wants your trust.”
Wherever you are in your life, trust that it’s exactly where God wants you to be. He has not forgotten you. He has not misled you. He is not a trickster, or a complicated, foreign god whose will is so very hard to figure out. His will for your life is right infant of you. He is letting His will be done as life simply unfolds before you. You can trust in life, and you can trust in His Providence.