I Don't Really Trust God...or Do I?
During a particularly stressful season in my life it occurred to me that I liked the idea of trusting God, but I didn't actually trust him. I knew the Bible verses - "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not blah-blah-blah..." I knew the songs, "...trust and obey for there's no other way to be blah-blah-blah-blah..." but reeeeeally, truly was I actually living in way that showed I trusted him? I realized, when I sat down in my office chair, I just sit. I trusted the chair to hold me. When I turned the faucet I just held the cup and trusted the water to splash forth...no worrying, wondering, second guessing...I just went on past experience without a 2nd thought and, voila, my cup runneth over. So, what was up with how I was thinking of "trusting" God?
I realized my concept of trust in God and how that looked in my life was connected to my expectations on how this or that situation might turn out. So I was trusting God only to the extent that what I imagined He might do or allow was what I could imagine possibly happening. And when I couldn't imagine a situation working out, or I was fearful that how things might work out would not be the way I would want them...I got panicky. Yikes. That's not actually trusting God now, is it?
No. No it is not.
Trusting God is not based on what we hope will happen, what we wish would potentially happen or what we can imagine might happen...trusting God is rooted in our concept of His character. Like anything we might trust, it's based on past performance. That chair held me last time...it'll hold me again. The water faucet turned on yesterday, it'll turn on again.
Think about it. How many times in the Word of God do we read about the mighty works he's done in the past? How many encouraging verses have to do with his faithfulness to all generations, how he's the same yesterday, today and forever; and reminders not to forget his many mighty deeds? I'll give you the short answer...hundreds! Hundreds of verses and passages point us to God's faithfulness and history of being there continually for the faithful. Here's where it's tough (don't think I don't realize it's really tough!) - it's tough when we do not like the situation we're in. We're in a dark place, a scary season, a season of lacking, a season of pain...and this is when it is so hard to trust. When will it end? Will it get better? Will I find relief? When? I'm scared, God!! I do NOT Like this season!
You are in good company if you are feeling this angst. You are among great leaders in our faith if you are worried and fearful...but do not be swallowed by this. This is precisely the season in which you must sit confidently in that chair, when you reach confidently for that faucet...know this: you will be held, the water will pour...you CAN trust God. Return to the Word and find reminders of his character. Anchor your confidence, your willingness to actually trust, not in your personal hopes and expectations, but in the historical and present truth of WHO GOD HAS BEEN AND WILL BE...
"...none of those who wait for You will be ashamed; Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed. 4Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.…" (Ps 25)
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.…" (Heb 12)
"...good and upright is the Lord, for instructs the sinners in His was, He guides the humble in what, and teaches them His way..." (Ps 25)
Knowing the TRUTH about God is where real trust can begin. Do you need fresh reminders of this? Do you need strengthening in the area? Can I encourage you to do two things this week?
1) Read Psalm 25 and Hebrews 12 - and read them aloud...and stand up while you read them! Do it. It makes a big difference.
2) Write down the stressful craziness of what's going on in your life...circle key words, write each of those on a slip of paper, set those papers on a big, firm chair and sit on them. Then pray, "God, I really do want to trust you. You've proven yourself to be faithful and true and even if I don't like the outcome, even if it takes a lot longer to resolve than I have been hoping...I am trusting you for these situations. Amen." Period. Done.
...ok, three things...
3) Reach out to a trusted friend, pastor, mentor...and confide in them your desire to grow in your ability to trust God. You could even call me! Let's talk this out and get real and really grow in this!
Remember, the world is full of cliche messages about God, the real God and His real story for you are bigger, harder, and way more trustworthy than the bumper sticker or Hobby Lobby woodprint quotes you're reading. Get into the Word of God and get on your knees. You can grow in this area...it's totally worth it.