Trusting God and Being Prudent
By Amanda Hudson
A woman was interviewed a few weeks ago and told a television reporter that she didn’t have to mask or social distance because God would protect her. 
Yes, God loves us and wants us to trust Him and to be well. But there is a difference between having great trust in God and presuming upon Him.
Think of the well-worn joke where a man who has died complains to God because He didn’t rescue him from a hurricane. God points out that He had sent him early warnings, a boat and even a helicopter to get him out of harm’s way, but the guy had turned them all down because “God will rescue me.” “What more did you want?” God asks.
Of course, God is capable of stepping into situations and providing miraculous rescues, but that is not His usual manner. He expects us to use our heads, follow directions and think ahead when we are faced with the need to make a decision or begin an action of some significance. And we certainly can ask God to help us in our efforts to identify and do the prudent thing.
After employing all the usual means at our disposal in the effort to do the right thing, should things go wrong we can beg God’s mercy and trust in His saving help — without presumption.
It makes so much sense to follow St. Augustine’s thought: “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”
Augustine’s wisdom is applicable to more than earthly concerns and projects and people. Spiritually, we are called to the realization that our salvation depends on God. Jesus is our Savior, our Redeemer, and our utmost hope.
However, neither the Bible nor the Church teach us to trust that God will save us without any effort on our part — think of the parable of the wise and the foolish virgins. The foolish five demonstrate a lack of practical wisdom and are left out in the cold. You might even say they were lazy in their responsibilities.
God’s graces most often are given to help us do our part. Our total reliance on Him means accepting His gifts to help us act well. All the saints depended on God’s help as they negotiated their way through life.
But perhaps we do not yet have a desire for sainthood. It is tempting to brush aside any statement that all are called to be saints. Perhaps it is more accurate, and sounds more doable, to realize that we are called by God to become saints.
Aside from the always-extraordinary example of our Blessed Mother, God’s saints, known and unknown, had to grow into holiness. Choosing to practice the virtues, to sacrifice desires in order to grow in discipline and be of use to God and others, and to reach out for a good reason when it seems safer to pull back, all such decisions go against human nature. But they are prudent actions and done with God in mind.
Facing the reality of the coronavirus and other challenges that come our way gives us plenty of opportunities to practice virtues like prudence, faith, hope, charity and fortitude, justice and temperance. We can experience personal sacrifice firsthand, and do what we don’t want to do in order to benefit ourselves and protect others. 
With the coronavirus and most everything else, we can do all the right things, take all the prudent steps we can identify, and still find ourselves in situations where we are not as safe as we try to be. Or we can be trying and sooner or later forget to do something we otherwise would do. We’re human, and we don’t get to be perfect in our efforts to avoid the virus or any other harmful thing or person.
Whether we are looking at the spiritual or the physical realm of life, we need God. He is able to rescue us in all things – and cares especially about doing what it takes to get us to heaven eventually. We can and should work at growing in our trust in God.
We can use the great virtue of prudence and avoid presumption — and be able to say sincerely that we did our best and that indeed God will protect us.