The death of our son has been harder than we prepared for, and in all honesty, I didn’t trust in Jesus
In her diary, St. Faustina Kowalska recounted the words of Jesus on the night of February 22, 1931: “Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: ‘Jesus, I trust in You’…I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and then throughout the world.”
Today, the image of the Divine Mercy, originally painted under the supervision of St. Faustina by Eugene Kazimierowski, is venerated in nearly every parish around the world, and the prayer at the bottom of the image, “Jesus, I trust in You,” has become one of the most well known prayers throughout the Catholic world.
For me, “Jesus, I trust in You” became one of the few prayers I was able to offer up as we struggled through the journey of losing our son Luke. Throughout the pregnancy, as we drove to the hospital for the labor and delivery, and as we held our beloved boy in our arms as he died, “Jesus, I trust in You” was all I could mutter.
How I wish there was truth behind those words I prayed.
But in all honesty, I didn’t trust in Jesus.
I didn’t trust Him when we found out we were expecting and our youngest had not yet had his first birthday; I doubted the timing. I didn’t trust Him when we went to the ultrasound, were told something was wrong, then ultimately told our son would not live after his birth; I was terrified. I didn’t trust Him as I held our baby in my arms and watched him pass from this life to the next; I begged Him to rewrite His plan for our son. And I certainly didn’t trust Him as I stood by my wife’s side and watched that tiny little casket get lowered down into the earth; I wallowed in disbelief.
Through all of those moments, despite the fact that the words “Jesus, I trust in You” passed through my lips, deep inside I felt like a fraud. I felt like I was giving God nothing more than lip service, and obviously He knew it.
In the middle of all of this, I was submitting a piece to this very website about God asking us to say yes to him without any expectation of consolation, and to keep moving forward no matter how bad it hurts, when I received an email from Elizabeth Scalia, Aleteia’s Editor-in-Chief.
Her message to me was profound in its simplicity, and it turned the one prayer I had the ability to mutter completely upside down:
“God must TRUST you very much, to permit you to suffer… trust you to seek the gift, identify the grace.”
In other words, “Jesus, You trust in me.”
When we found out we were expecting, He trusted in me. When we went to the ultrasound, He trusted in me. When our son was born and as he passed away, He trusted in me. And as he was laid to rest, He certainly trusted in me.
The death of our son has been harder than we prepared for. The emptiness and pain that we feel will be with us until the end of our lives; and yet, in a counterintuitive way that can only be understood through our Catholic faith, this terrible suffering has helped show just how much Jesus trusts in me.
And it’s that trust He has in me that has freed me to truly and completely trust Him back.