I hesitate sharing this because it’ll probably sound like my faith is lacking and that’s a no-no for a pastor, right? Ok, here goes…”I believe God can, but I doubt whether He wants to.” Shew, okay there I said it.
While I’d say that portions of my life have been hit with hard times, most of it has been pretty awesome. Why should I complain when I’ve been saved by Jesus, blessed with a beautiful, loving wife and killer kids? Why should I complain when I have a job that allows me to share the Gospel, do what I love and see lives change? Why should I complain when I have food on the table every single day, heating and cooling in my extremely nice house as well as two vehicles to transport my family. So again, why should I complain?
I shouldn’t, BUT…
For some reason, no matter how blessed I am it doesn’t change the feeling of uncertainty that I have. In my mind, I feel that at any moment God’s going to take it all away and leave me poor, lonely and broken -- not because He’s bad, but because He’s good.
Our view of God’s goodness and God’s ACTUAL goodness don’t always line up. Our view of God’s goodness is rooted in comfort and stability, whereas God’s goodness comes from His use of what the enemy meant for evil for our good. That doesn’t sound like goodness is rooted in comfort, does it?
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” - Genesis 50:20
Having trust in the things of this world is like having trust in a house of cards. At any moment it can all come tumbling down.
WHO DO YOU TRUST?
We’re currently in a season of negativity. Turn on the TV and they announce a higher death toll for the Coronavirus. Open up social media and there’s someone blasting the political decisions being made. Go to the grocery store and happen to sneeze, you immediately have all eyes on you and are marked as a leper.
Are we trusting all those viewpoints -- TV, internet, people at the grocery store? If so, we’re probably living a miserable life. I know it rules me often.
Do you want to know why that affects us? Because we trust what we see. We see the negativity so we believe it. We either are the creators of negativity or the consumers of it. It says a lot about who or what we have our trust in. So ask yourself, who do you trust? Do you trust the fear that’s being delivered to you day in and day out or do you trust the One who’s in control of it all?
TRUST DOESN’T MEAN WE WON’T BE AFRAID
Have you ever done a trust fall? It’s where a person stands on a ledge with their back facing the drop. Below them is a group of people with their arms stretched out ready to catch that person as they fall back. The scariest thing about it is that you’re trusting that when you fall back they're actually going to catch you. Heaven forbid you made one of them mad earlier that morning. If you’ve ever done this you’ll know that just because you get up there and fall back doesn’t mean you’re not afraid.
We can talk about trust all day long, but it’s not going to be a switch that we just turn on. It’s going to take time and it’s going to be uncomfortable, but God is in it for the long haul. He isn’t giving up and He isn’t mad at you for having doubts. He doesn’t want you to live in that doubt, though. He wants you to have freedom and He wants you to trust Him.
HOW CAN WE TRUST NOW?
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” - Eleanor Roosevelt
Isn’t that a frightening quote. I think what she meant was that if we want to conquer fear, we have to master it. Learning to trust doesn’t mean we won’t be afraid, but it does require us to push through that fear. It’s okay to be afraid, but we can’t stay there. The more times you do that trust fall, the less fear will rule you.
Here are a couple of ways I feel that we can practice that trust fall…
Identify what you’re afraid of
If you don’t know what’s in the closet that scares you then you’ll have a hard time trusting that there’s nothing there. You need to know whether it’s a monster, a vampire or a stack of shoes that look like a monster or a vampire.
It’s important to know what we’re afraid of. Are you afraid of getting sick? Are you afraid of losing someone you love? Are you afraid that no one will ever love you? We first have to know what it is to be able to fully understand whether we should be afraid and if so, why.
Understand that trust isn’t comfortable
Trust requires us to give up control. We have to give up the unknown. This is so important. We can’t make trust conditional by saying things like, “I’ll trust you, God, but…” We have to understand that it isn’t going to be comfortable because trust requires faith.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. - Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
Remember God’s Faithfulness
All throughout the Bible we’re able to see how God delivered on His promises -- from Noah to Abraham to Moses and the Israelites -- but the most clear and comforting promise is that of Jesus, a hope that should show us that we can trust Him. We trust that there’s something greater at work. I could sum it up like this: We trust Him because He loves us.
I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. - Esphesians 3:16-18 (NLT)
God is the beginning, the end and everything in between. Why not trust the One Who’s already there and has already seized the day?
I’ve always only focused on verse 18, which in itself is so beautifully written and comforting to my soul. Now, though, seeing verse 16 and 17 only makes verse 18 even more reassuring. Not only should I trust the God Who holds all things in the palm of His hand, but the God whose love surrounds me on every side.