Trust

06/23/2005

How we long to trust the one we love, or the one who is our friend, or the one who even writes our paychecks… We want to be able to trust those around us with our lives and our hurts and our hearts, but can we? Should we? Are we called to?

Oswald Chambers said, “Our Lord trusted no man; yet He was never suspicious, never bitter, never in despair about any man, because He put God first in trust; He trusted absolutely in what God’s grace could do for any man.”
(My Utmost for His Highest-May 31st)

This idea came out of Scripture, in John 2:24-25:

“Because of the miraculous signs he did in Jerusalem at the
Passover celebration, many people were convinced that he
was indeed the Messiah. But Jesus didn’t trust them, because
he knew what people were really like. No one needed to tell
him about human nature.” (NLT)

So, if we can’t trust the people we know due to human nature, who are we to trust?
Jesus put “God first in trust.”
Can we?
Should we?
Must we?

We must, but how can we when sometimes that trust seems so misplaced?

Recently, we went to the memorial service for a good friend of ours. A true man of God, who was serving the Kingdom where many of us fear most to be called… Africa. Somewhere in our thinking, we give our lives to the Lord and then ask that we please not be sent to Africa! But sometimes we are--and that is exactly where our friend sensed he was to be.

It was beautiful in Africa on his last day upon this earth--we saw the videotape he was making on that day in service for our Lord. We saw as he washed the feet of women there and prayed God’s love over them. We watched as he began to hike the Mountain of Christ with a group of others, and we listened as he expressed his joy on that day, saying he felt like a kid again. We saw the very same view he saw from the top of the mountain as the video he had made played at his service, and we saw the tears in the eyes of those who knew and loved this man as he was remembered and missed by those who attended his memorial service.

What happened? Well, as he neared the top of the mountain, a large boulder dislodged and rolled on him. Within about thirty minutes he breathed his last, just after asking those that were with him to tell his wife that he loved her…

We may wrestle with trusting God after hearing of this story, and yet we must continue to trust! Trust is what God is all about. Trust is at the foundation of our belief in Him. Trust is vitally important to our faith in the Almighty! Without trust, it just doesn’t make any sense at all to have faith, which is the “confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen.” (Heb. 11:1 NLT)

But will it? Did it happen for our friend? Will it happen in our situations, whatever we are facing? What if our prayers go seemingly unanswered? What if our troubles persist? What if someone even dies in the process? Can we still trust God? We must!

You see, we make our plans, and then God changes them most times. We have our children and expect them to grow up healthy and happy…sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. We choose our careers and expect to move on up the ladder of success…sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. We marry the one we love and expect to live happily ever after with them…sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. Does any of this change who God is? Absolutely not! Does any of this change whether or not we should trust God in all our circumstances? Absolutely not! But we waver in our faith, we start to mistrust God’s care for us when things don’t turn out exactly the way we have it planned…but is that Biblical?

Look here, you people who say, “Today or tomorrow we
are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We
will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know
what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning
fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought
to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or
that.” Otherwise, you will be boasting about your own plans,
and all such boasting is evil.
James 4:13-16 (NLT)

Wow, that gets pretty basic. Did you read it? “If the Lord wants us to, we will live…” Okay, we have to start there, obviously, because we have to actually be living to do anything at all.

Our friend was living, fully, and serving God mightily…and yet his life ended so abruptly. I don’t mean to scare anyone with this story, but I think it points out so clearly that the lives we are living do not belong to us. They are on loan from our Creator, and when our work here is finished, we don’t get to vote. Our friend wrestled a bit with God in those last thirty minutes of his life, from what we heard. He did not feel that his work was finished, but when he saw the face of Christ, he said He was so beautiful! It was his time to go, and he knew it.

When someone has a new “lease on life,” what does that mean exactly? We don’t hear that expression too often, but it seems so appropriate, really. When we lease a car, we know the day will come when it must be returned. How different really, are our lives? They are given to us by our Father God, they are in His hands, and He knows before we are ever born when they must be returned. But thankfully, that is only the beginning of the story when we know Jesus Christ as our Savior. A Heavenly Eternity awaits those who believe! Our friend did not die, he moved on up the “ladder” into a better position! That’s a true success story!!

But can we trust that whole idea of an eternal life? Really? And if we do, where does that trust come from? Doesn’t it start right here, right now, each day we live? If we don’t trust God for our daily lives, for the daily ups and downs and struggles and health issues, can we really say that we trust Him with our eternal soul? Wouldn’t we be filled with doubts? Wouldn’t it only be lip service?

And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine.
They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far
away. And their worship of me amounts to nothing
more than human laws learned by rote. Because of this,
I will do wonders among these hypocrites. I will show
that human wisdom is foolish and even the most
brilliant people lack understanding.”
Isaiah 29:13-14 (NLT)

Now, I’m not writing this to say I’ve got it all figured out—that my faith never wavers, that I am always confident—trust is a process that requires abandoning ourselves each day to God! I pray daily for help with any doubts that creep into my life when I find myself looking at things from a human perspective!

“’If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him
who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed,
”I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”
Mark 9:23-24 (NIV)

It’s okay to pray this prayer, really it is. Lightening will not strike and the earth will not quake (although in California lately it just might!). It’s okay to tell God you’re struggling, He already knows!! Life can be hard, decisions can be confusing, doubts can creep in…our responsibility in that is to keep trusting that God knows what is best, that He is in control, and that when we start to fall away from the faith we’ve been given, we grab hold of His Hand and ask Him for help!! Because we surely need it!

Why am I writing about trust today? Because I have so many questions without answers once again…which seems to be the ebb and flow of life. When we make our own plans, they seem secure, we seem to know what tomorrow holds, what next year will look like…but do we really? Even when we truly believe the plans we are making are God’s instructions for our lives, we still don’t know what tomorrow holds--there is no guarantee that everything will be without trials and tribulations. Jesus was crucified, John was beheaded…

In reading “Abandoned to God,” the life story of Oswald Chambers, it seems to make no common sense why he was called Home so young. At the age of 43, after having his appendix removed, complications followed and he died. He left his wife and young daughter there in Egypt, to carry on the work they had begun with the Y.M.C.A. It seemed if there was anyone on this earth God could surely use to further His Good News, Oswald was the man, but he died young. “If the Lord wants us to, we will live…”

Biddy, as Oswald called her, continued on with the work they had started. It didn’t look the same because we will never know what the rest of Oswald’s work would have looked like, but his wife went on to take the stenographers notes she had made during his talks and publish them for all to read. It took her three years to compile the writings for “My Utmost for His Highest” alone. She dedicated herself to getting the Good News out, as many had personally heard during his sermons.

Like the “morning fog,” Oswald was gone, and his wife Biddy continued to trust God in the most difficult of circumstances. Stories like that help all of us to continue on, to trust God and to look past what makes no sense in this world and into the next where all the questions will be left behind.

As I was thinking about trust the other day, it came to me that it might mean:

To
Rest
Upon
Sovereign
Timetables

Because isn’t that what we question most times, God’s timing in things? And do you know what I think happens then? We rush ahead of God’s timing because it isn’t the timing we were expecting. We thought we’d have that job long ago, but it is taking so long, so we run out and get a different one…is that what God had in mind? We thought we should be married by the time we’re 25, so we marry someone we’re dating, perhaps much too quickly, and miss the very person God had waiting for us two years from now. When the plans God has for us seem to be taking too long, we make our own plans and move ahead in the direction we choose—but what do we miss? Most times, we may never know!

Why don’t we trust most times? Because it’s just not the way we think it should be, or the timing we were expecting. God must have forgotten about us, and so…we better just move on ahead without Him. He can catch up with us later…”But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” (Habakkuk 2:3 NLT)

We’d rather have it quickly, rapidly, in our timing, without delay—meaning TODAY!

For since the world began, no ear has heard,
and no eye has seen a God like you, who
works for those who wait for him!
Isaiah 64:4 (NLT)

Without trust, waiting will be nearly impossible. Without waiting on God, will we ever learn to truly trust Him? I don’t think I will. If I don’t wait, I will continue on with the bad habit of thinking that if I don’t do it, it won’t get done! Then I’ll miss the plans God has for me and never see the blessings that were waiting. Oh, I might be satisfied with the results of my own actions, but I may never see the miracle workings of God in the details of my life and the lives of those around me…because YES! Trusting God not only means for my life personally, but also trusting Him with the lives of those I live with, work with, play with and sometimes haven’t even met yet! 

I’ve read that it’s much easier to trust God with my own heart than the hearts of those I know…how I know that! Okay God, here’s my heart, do with it what you will, but just let me have a go at Mary’s heart over there because I don’t think she’s gonna make it without my messing in her life! Oh, and my son there, let me just give him my opinion about how to raise that child of his, or maybe I could have a good sit-down with my daughter-in-law and make sure she is living up to all the expectations of the role of our son’s wife! And Bob over there, he doesn’t seem to be volunteering as much as I’d like him to, so maybe I should just have a talk with him. I know You are in charge of changing hearts and revealing Yourself to them Lord, but it just seems to be taking too long in some of these cases…I just don’t know if I can wait on You…or trust You with their lives…

Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you arereally
trusting God who sent me. For when you see me, you are
seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine
in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will
no longer remain in the darkness.”
John 12:44-26 (NLT)

Sometimes, it does seem to take too long…sometimes, it takes right up to the final moment of a person’s life for the light of God to shine in the darkness. Just this week a friend of ours went to the hospital to see his dad…for the last time. Little did he know that when he talked to his dad on Thursday night about the goodness of our Lord and the eternal life that has been promised to those who will believe, that his dad would not only say, “Yes, I believe,” but would be meeting God face to face on Friday morning. It is never too late to believe, as even the thief on the cross said to Jesus, “Remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

Who had been praying for these two men their entire lives? Most times, we will never know, but for sure it was someone who trusted God and waited, and waited, and waited until God’s perfect timing in their lives. We can never know a person’s last thoughts on this earth, we can never know when prayers are being answered as they take their last breath, but we can know that God can and should be trusted for each individual heart that He has created. His desire is that none should perish!

When we trust, we will be able to leave the darkness of this world behind us, even as the storm clouds gather all around. As I stood in a casino in Las Vegas this last week talking with a friend about waiting on God, it seemed so absolutely absurd. It seems so much more natural to go into a church with beautiful stained glass windows and kneel at the altar and pray, because that’s where we expect to find God. Not in a Casino, but God is there too. God is everywhere we go, and He is in the midst of all our circumstances too. He never leaves us, whether we are beside our dad’s hospital bed, or lying on a mountain in Africa, or picking our children up from school or leaving the office after a long day at work…we will see God and know His love for us when we begin to trust Him with each moment of our lives.

It’s a process that we all must learn, and as our baby steps grow into teenage steps and then into adult steps and on into a maturing faith in the Almighty, we should have so many experiences to look back upon where we trusted God that they appear as a treasure map of our life…leading straight to the gates of Heaven, one step at a time.

Tell those who are rich in this world not be proud
and not to trust in their money, which will soon be
gone. But their trust should be in the living God,
who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment…
By doing this they will be storing up their treasure
as a good foundation for the future so that they may
take hold of real life.
1 Timothy 6:17 & 19 (NLT)

Step one trust…step two wait…step three trust…step four wait…when we look back, let us see only the footsteps that God ordained.

The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Psalm 37:23 (NLT)

Diane