Examen on Trust and Surrender

Place yourself in the presence of the Lord and pray for enlightenment. Relax. Breathe deeply. Run quickly over the past few hours or days, allowing your real feelings to surface about the events that have been part of your life, the feelings you’ve buried so that you could make it through the day.

Pay attention to the way in which the Lord has been present to you. Where have you felt drawn to the Lord or moved to trust in the Lord? Where have you met the Lord when you felt afraid … misunderstood … tempted … relieved … happy? Turn to the Lord with gratitude.

Choose one incident or reaction that stands out particularly for you at this time and which is still not settled for you. Recall to mind the details of the incident and its context, the people involved, and how you feel about it.

Read in the Bible The Walking on Water (Matthew 14: 22-33)

Allow yourself to surrender your idea of how things should be and trust in where the Lord leads you.

He made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’


Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’ (Matt. 14:22-33)

This scene from the Gospel of Matthew is quite intense. It is night, the disciples are being tossed back and forth in their boat by a violent storm, and they see a figure walking on water. Instead of running away, Peter faces the situation with courage and an openness to trust in God’s plan. He recognizes Jesus and knows that he is trustworthy, even in this unbelievable situation.

Read the passage again, placing yourself in Peter’s place. You are afraid in the violent storm and are unsure of the person you see walking on water, but the possibility that it is Jesus is enough to make you want to get closer. Are you willing to step out of the boat?

When Peter places his trust in Jesus and stepped out of the boat onto the water, something amazing happened. He surrendered his idea of how things should be, about how they were supposed to be, and he moved towards Jesus. He is walking on water, moving closer to Jesus in the midst of a storm. Even when he took his eyes off the Lord and began to sink, he still had faith that Jesus would save him. And he did.

God can do amazing things when we trust him only with a small amount. As you reflect upon the incident that you chose for your examen, ask yourself where God is asking you to grow in trusting him. What would happen if you surrendered your idea of how things should be, stepped out of your boat, and moved towards the Lord and his peace? He will not disappoint you, and he will be there even if you begin to sink.

God’s great love for you is made manifest in the experiences of your life. As you make this examen, the Lord is right now moving your heart toward trusting in him.

Spend some time talking over with the Lord what you are learning and experiencing. With simplicity express your sorrow for any times you have not trusted the Lord in your life and your gratitude for any movements you sense toward greater surrender through God’s grace.

Identify one step toward becoming more trusting in God’s love that you want to take going forward, a step that is actually possible for you. Pray for the grace to be a surrender your life completely to God.

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