I’d been struggling with handing something over to God. Something I’d never truly given before: my full and unwavering trust.
After many months of only seeing a tiny window’s view out of a king-sized problem, I told my husband that I was throwing in the towel. I didn’t think I could continue to walk through the problem we’d been facing. It was just too hard. Too real. I said, “That’s it. I’m over this. I don’t have it in me to keep going.”
My husband replied very gently: “Do you have it in you to hold on and trust God just a little longer?”
My answer? It was immediate. Probably practical. But, I fear, not very trust-infused: “How long? I want a date.”
I’ve laughed about it since. I can’t believe I demanded an “out” before I even jumped “in” to the fray. And isn’t that so like us? We say we’ll trust God, but what we really mean is we’ll trust Him if it’s on our terms or timeline. We’ll trust if things don’t get too difficult and only if it’s easy, safe, and the outcome assured. So when the problem becomes bigger and messier than any of those things, we’ll just take over. We’ll draw a line in the sand and circle a date on the calender.
Why? Because we just couldn’t trust God…
How can I place confidence in someone unless I know them? It’s been on my heart and in my head for weeks. We talked about it at my Bible study class today, in a very open way. Some of us shared our struggles with control. With trusting God in that kind of holy fervor that makes up the Greek word pisteuo. And the same thing kept coming from the mouths and hearts of these sisters around our table:
1) READ. Plain and simple? We MUST be in the Word. There’s no schedule busy enough to overshadow it. If we’re sleep-walking from work to our kids’ games to church and back home again, without feeding our souls except maybe through a verse or two on Sunday morning, how can we expect anything to change? As our table co-leader so wisely put it today– we have to know who God is before we’ll trust Him. That comes from spending time in His Word. Period. In learning His heart. In understanding His love for us. In claiming the promise that we can trust Him.
2) KNOW. After almost 18 years as a couple, I know my husband pretty well. We can finish each other’s sentences. He knows how I like to order my salad at a restaurant and I know how he likes his iced tea. I know his heart probably better than anyone else. Why? We spend time talking. Every day. And it’s not because we should or to be a “good spouse” we go through the motions of conversing. When I answer the phone, all I have to hear is “Hey Honey. It’s me.” and I know it’s him. By now, I recognize his voice and he does mine. The same is true in our walk with God. We’ve got to talk to Him. We’ve got to be fervent in prayer.
3.) LIVE. Oh, this is a tough one. Because we live in a culture that can focus on the stone-throwing view of “perfect” Christianity, it can be so difficult to reach a place of authenticity in our faith. I had a friend recently confide in me that she was having doubts about Christianity. She was so afraid to tell any of her other Christian friends, for fear that she’d be rejected. She thought that if she was having doubts, then she must not have been living this Christian life right. Well, we put that to rest immediately when I said, “Uh oh. I’m in trouble then. I’ve had doubts in my journey with Christ.” Our Bible study group echoed that today –we’ve got to put our faith into action. But notice I didn’t say to put our faith into perfection. There’s a BIG difference, and His name is Jesus. Living out our faith doesn’t mean we won’t struggle – it just means we turn to Him when we do.
Bottom line: Live out what you believe. (John 8:31-32)
4.) TRUST. Trusting God is just like any other relationship. It takes investment, dedication, and in most cases – work. That’s right! I said work. (And that part surprised me…) I could never expect to have trust in my husband if I never listened to him or cared about the things he finds important. The entire foundation for our relationship would be one-sided if I didn’t really know him. It would be about what I want. What I care about. Me, me… me. So it is with our relationship – and our trust – with God. His ways are not our ways. His timing is not set to a date circled on our calendar. We don’t trust because we don’t always understand.
Bottom line: He calls us not to understanding, but to trust. Living without boundaries in our faith is possible — if we focus on Him. (Phil 4:10-14)
Don’t worry if you’re still working on it. (I am too.) My husband always tells me: “Faith for today, Honey. That’s what we need.” I’ve written that here before and I’m sure I’ll say it again. If you’re scared, alone, feeling rejected or unsure and you need to know you can TRUST Him, start at #1 and work your way down that list. I promise you — we’ll get there, with no calendars involved.