This morning, I began reading another book entitled Trust: A Godly Woman's Adornment by Lydia Brownback. In the Introduction, she shared how we often fail to trust God because we may have tried that once and it didn't "work." She suggests, however, that what that betrays is not how unworthy of trust God is, but our false notions of who He really is. It's not God that needs to change. What I need to let Him change is my understanding of who He really is...which doesn't always jive what what my eyes and my limited understanding tell me. As I reflected on that, I realized how accurately that described me. My anxiety, anger, and frustrations all were pointing to the false belief that I had to do things on my own. I had believed that while yes, God has called us to adopt and He has carried us through this process, He has left me on my own to figure out how to do the day-to-day ordering of our lives after that. My false belief is that God will help us with the hard stuff; it is up to me to do the "easy" stuff. While I knew in my head that this was not true, my life betrayed what I really believed.
Well, obviously, that wasn't working too well. Sure, I could make it work on some days by utilizing sheer grit and will power, but more often than not, our days don't go as I have so meticulously planned. Something always comes up. Just the mere fact that I am living with other people that have minds of their own (and now there are six of them!) is pretty much a guarantee that things will not unfold as I would like.
So what is true about God? If He is not a grand schemer who winds up the world and lets it run on its own, then what is He really like? What truths do I need to hang on to and live by? How can trusting in His character change how I live? Just a few come to mind at this moment, though I am sure that many more can apply:
- I need to believe that He is not only actively involved in my all the ins and outs of my life but He is actually interestedin all those details. After all, a sparrow cannot fall without Him knowing it. The very hairs of my head are numbered. (Matt. 10:29) If I believe that, then I can bring all those concerns, big and small to Him. I can tell Him about my fears that Anah will never get toilet trained, my worries that I wouldn't be able to balance all the needs of each member of my family, my anxieties over specific events in my day, my frustration over things that seem impossible to change.
- He is also wise in all His ways. If He has ordained pain into my life, it is not because He gets a little thrill in seeing us squirm and suffer. Adopting an older special needs child is not His idea of the ultimate in torture. I have to believe that in His wisdom, He has an infinitely greater Kingdom purpose for what He ordains in our lives. (Rom. 8:28) Of course, I can doubt that and take things back into my own hands. Which, of course, will lead me into greater trouble and deeper delusions about God. His request that we trust Him, then, is even an act of wisdom and love, because He knows that in the scheme of eternity, it will be the best thing for us.
- He is unconditionally loving and full of grace. As I mentioned in my last post, the deeper my sense of sin, the greater my appreciation of His grace. I do not need to bear the weight of guilt for my failures, my sin, my disgrace. I can trust that He will forgive me, help me to repent and show me a way out when the temptation to sin again comes up. (1 John 1:9, 1 Cor. 10:13) If I am willing to trust this is true, how much less guilt I will need to bear...and how much more hope there is for my future!
I really appreciated that reminder this morning, as it made me think about why it is so important my understanding of God be grounded in His unchanging Word, not my faulty human perceptions. Not only that, it reminded me that how I see Him will greatly impact how I trust Him... or not.
I wonder sometimes if God purposely allows these difficult and painful times into our lives so that He can show us what He really is like. Instead of rejecting us, He may actually even be pursuing us, inviting us to draw near to Him in our struggles so we can come to know Him better. The question is: Am I willing to accept that invitation? Or will I reject it?
Thanks for letting me ramble as I process this season of our lives. I hope that by sharing some of my real-time thoughts as I am going through them, it may be an encouragement to someone else. I don't always have all the answers. I'm on the journey too. Maybe you're not in the same situation as I am, but maybe there's something you're having a hard time trusting God about. I hope that you'll also be encouraged to trust our God for who He really is and let Him pursue you in your time of trial.