Commentary on the Gospel of
“Know that I am with you; I will protect you wherever you go,” God tells Jacob and his descendents. And Jacob responds with a vow of faith and trust in God as he journeys through a life of uncertainty. Jacob’s story is our own. God does not promise to be with us in a life of certainties. Indeed, the Psalms reveal there is never a dull moment in the lives of the faithful. God’s people are always in danger, distress, despair, and denial, to name just a few of our predicaments. We aren’t promised a life devoid of challenges and chaos. We are instead promised refuge, rescue, relief, and renewal. This dynamic and exciting relationship is not as risky a lifestyle as some might think. It doesn’t mean we are always walking a tightrope or engaging in daring death defying acts like an action adventure hero. But God’s people are a specially challenged population. We are called to a faith that is professed in trust. It takes courage to activate trust.
The Bible contains stories of faith heroes like Jacob, the woman who touched the hem on Jesus’ cloak, and the official who thought his daughter had died. Their faith was not just a profession of belief. It was an active faith in a time of distress and despair. It was made active by their courage. If we read the words of the Psalm several times today and actively apply them to our own lives, we will see where we need to be more courageous in placing our trust in God. Is it our fear of a new journey in life like the one Jacob confronted? Is it the distress of ill health? Is it the despair over the death of a loved one? Is it refuge from an ever present temptation? What ever it is, Jesus calls us to pray courageously, “In you, my God, I place my trust.”