Trusting God

As I mentioned, the topic of conversation recently in our discussion group has been, “What is your picture of God?”

Considering this, I realize that I am finally secure in the Father’s love and acceptance.  It took my whole life to get to that point.  I used to think I was only accepted by God on the group plan – God had to love me because He loves everyone.  Believing in God’s love is a big hurdle in many peoples’ lives.

It might seem like a contradiction to say that I am confident in God’s love and yet admit that I struggle to trust.  Obviously there are things I have yet to know and experience of His love if I am not trusting Him.

While I have known for some time that my picture of God is still screwed up, I have not known how it will be fixed.  I just keep going to Him in my messed-upnesss because I know that the only chance of fixing this is in Him.  Basically, I realize that apart from Him revealing  something to me, I’m stuck here.

The point at where I was/am stuck is on the degree of God’s intervention in our lives.  Perhaps this is a common struggle.  My theology that God rarely directly intervenes left me in the position of being an unbeliever – not that I didn’t love God, but I didn’t believe He would do much about the circumstances of my life.

Our lives are impacted by distorted and competing pictures of God.  Our theologies play themselves out.  After reading the recent tornado of articles and comments around the blogosphere concerning Piper’s precipitant piece on meteorology, I realized that I am not alone in the process of working out my theology.  (I also realized that there are theological systems and conclusions that I will never agree with.)

Do I know that God loves me? Absolutely.

Do I believe that God will take care of me? Not so much.

A friend asked me the other day if I have trust issues.

My response was, “No, I just have low expectations.”

Pathetic as that might sound, that is where I have been.

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16 thoughts on “Trusting God

  1. For much of my Christin life I have struggled with this (before that, I didn’t care to give it much thought). My concepts of God were like staring at a cloud on a lazy summer day. Just when you think you have identified a recognizable image, it will slowly transform into something else. Sometimes it is difficult to follow God when the concept of what He looks like keeps morphing on you.

    But these past few years I have keyed in on Jesus’ statement to Philip, who also apparently was having difficulty in visualizing God. Jesus said, “Don’t you know me Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?'” (John 14:9). Since then I have been closely, carefully, intentionally following Jesus through the gospels. I listen to Him as He speaks to the crowds, and to individuals. I watch Him as He encounters all kinds of different situations. I observe His demeanor with the different types of people He deals with. I began to see God in a whole new light. Jesus gives God form and dimension. Emotions and personality. He has a sense of humor. He gets exasperated. He is patient and tender with the marginalized and disenfranchised. He is short with the self-righteous who pride themselves in their righteousness. He accepts people where they are, and is not hesitant to warn them to trun away from that which placed them there and turn toward God. I love Jesus. I can see both His superiority and His humility. He says to me “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” He also says to me, “Anyone who would be my disciple must pick up his cross daily and follow me.” I am no longer the master of my own destiny. I died in Him so that I may now live in Him. Can I trust Him? I think I can … and where my faith might waver and fail at times, His faithfulness holds me fast. He has proved it time and again.

    I love Jesus. I love how He showed us the Father. Even though I have not yet beheld Him with my eyes, I have seen Him in my heart through my Lord Jesus.

  2. Trust is a hard thing to have. It takes faith.

    I think even Jesus’ life was a struggle with faith and trust. If it wasn’t, He wouldn’t have been a real man, He wouldn’t be able to know our struggles. This is perhaps one reason why He prayed as He did in the garden before He was betrayed – but He did not loose His faith and trust, He did what He did on nothing but faith and trust. At the closest point between God and Man lay the farthest rift for the God/Man. Only faith pulled Him through.
    It must have been infinitely more difficult for Him than it is for us considering His eternal nature with the Father was now rent; He didn’t exactly give the brave face that other martyrs have done, at any rate.

    So the closer we get to God it seems the greater our faith must be. Complete trust, humble and cross bearing trust is to what we are called. But that is the very nature of intimate relationship.

    It is good to have doubts. How else are we to strengthen our faith? How else are we to know, other than by its testing, whether what we believe is the truth or just our version of it?

    Walking with God is difficult. I have found He makes it that way on purpose, for it builds our “trust muscles” and draws us ever closer to Him. What is the old saying? To chose between what is right or what is easy.

  3. “Do I believe that God will take care of me?”

    I think this question is an important one for most of us. Most of the time our expectations are that God will take care of us in a certain way that allows to us live a comfortable, happy, problem free, life. The question is certainly appropriate but it depends on how we define “take care of me”.

  4. …..dont fret….your proceeding along just fine..the main thing you have to look out for is some of the advice you will recieve when you are being truthful about struggleing in some area of The Faith….for me..i am at a place where i am questioning most EVERYTHING that i have believed concerning Protestant Doctrine…believe me..God does not frown upon our questioning or probing as we sift

  5. Grace,
    I think Traveller pointed out something really good there.
    If taking care of me means meeting my expectations then, God isn’t going to bend to my will,(or so I believe).
    But,
    in hind sight I can see that God has been intimately involved in my life and has very much taken care of me.
    I also think it can be really hard to see that moment by moment, but it doesn’t make it (or his presence) any less real.

    Sort of like tonight when my 5 yo told me that I never give him what he wants. It’s not true, but at that moment he can’t see that it’s not true,because I am not letting him stay up and play wii for 10 more hours (his actual request).
    .. I also have huge difficulty with trust, especially when things are going badly on my end, but like you I am more and more aware of His Love for me and part of that is the past experience that I can look back and say,”He did that for me”.
    I hope that makes sense,
    Peace be with you sister

  6. Grace hope all these comments don’t sound patronising – I hated it when people try to interpret my pain – it seems something very very personal between me and God.I have found God weaning me off beliefs and depending on my head.Openness to the unknown reality is true ‘faith’ ( sorry about Christians favourite buzz word!) Abba if he is there is not experienced through belief but openess even openess to giving up all I have believed about Him.Sounds painful for our Western Rationalism but when at the end of our rope the Divine Presence appears.Take it easy and don’t be hard on yourself.

  7. What a great answer to the trust question Grace.. so honest.

    I think John the Baptist had to feel that way when Jesus refused to spring him from jail.. he had to be hurting and wondering how much he could trust Jesus to take care of him. Interesting that Jesus responded to an imprisoned John by simply telling John to not be offended at God.

    That story has helped me to readjust my expectation of God. He has promised to be with us when we are in pain even when we pray to be delivered from it. Maybe trusting is more about His presence and friendship than about miraculous deliverance?

    I can trust Him to hear me when I pray and to be with me when I hurt. Not sure that I need more than that? Not sure that I need to demand more from my Friend.

  8. Grace… I’m so thankful for your honesty and authenticity. I realize I have never put into words this element of feeling that God wasn’t going to intervene in my own life. Like you, I trust Father’s love. But trusting his involvement in daily life is a little difficult. Or non-existent. I guess it’s an opportunity for me to begin to trust his active love… however that works. I suppose I do believe he is loving and big enough to begin to remedy the situation.

  9. One way I pressed through the wilderness was by writing. I wrote a lot on a whole lot of subjects, with some of the most helpful being the least intentional. Just began writing stories. Would wake up in the morning and write a story as it came to me, about a 1000 words a day. Was immensely cleansing and pointed out some really interesting hidden bits of myself–the sort of bits that God was aware of–good and bad and yearning.

    The other writing I did for a long season was journal my spiritual state each day. Wasn’t entirely consistent after the first few months, but enough so. Really pushed me to explore and see. Sometimes God is there, but our lives are so frenetic we lose sight of his presence unless we stop and listen for the whisper. And sometimes the whisper isn’t even there, but in that quiet we can hear the rhythm of our heart beating–and that leads to some interesting directions.

    This journal I did online, here’s a link to the first bit of Learning to Dance.

  10. Hi Grace,
    I came across your website searching for articles on Frank Viola. You’ve created a nice site here.

    I read your last post referencing the “dark night of the soul/spirit” and this one on trust. Like so many Christians I can also empathize with the situation you feel stuck in. The issue of trust is directly connected to what in this world you view God as responsible for. It is hard to trust God if you feel like he doesn’t act on your behalf, or if you think he is sending hardship your way to prune you. The good news is that God never tempts us (James 1:13); He doesn’t send hardship and pain into our lives to teach us a lesson, and He always has our back!

    Most people don’t doubt that God CAN act in a given situation; they just doubt that He will act FOR them. What set me free from this is knowing our identity in Christ as believers. We’re not trying to be good enough, or become spiritual enough, that God will finally accept us and act on our behalf.

    In our born again spirit we are already the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 5:21)–because Jesus already completed His redemptive work when He offered one sacrifice, for all sins, forever and sat down at the right hand of the Father(Hebrews 10:12).

    We are already accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6). The Greek word for accepted here is charitoo and it is only used one other time in the entire New Testament: when the angel Gabriel told Mary that she was “highly favored” (Luke 1:28). Believers are highly favored.

    That said, God is a gentleman and He doesn’t force His truth upon us. He meets us where we are: if we don’t believe God exists, He doesn’t make us believe. If we don’t believe He can act in our situation, or in our daily lives, He won’t make us see His presence.

    On the other hand, “…the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him (2 Chronicles 16:9).” God is actively seeking for people who will take Him at His Word, and believe that He wants to intervene in our lives. If you put your faith out there and believe God will act, He will show up big time.

  11. I used to have a wholehearted trust. When I was younger and after I became a believer. I just trusted God and trusted life. The last two years have been a bit rocky on that front (in some ways last six years – before then at least I thought I fully trusted) – especially a year or so ago I was in a bad place regarding trust, feeling-wise. The trauma of losing a family member unexpectedly in an accident two years ago shook me up (also coupled and followed by losing a few other things too) – and the trust, just in life. I never thought I’d feel that way or be affected that way. I was surprised by my emotional response to the death certainly. and it wasn’t straight away that it happened, but later on.

    We’re doing better now on the trust front though. Somehow, something has happened. I’m still in the process, but in a much better place now, God and I.

    I’ve been working out my theology for quite some while too, I think we all do (ok, maybe some just bite without chewing)

    Oh and interesting you mention the intervention as just the other day I was thinking “I believe God is a God who gets INVOLVED” – and how in my view He wants us to be His hands and feet and to get involved. He is not afraid of mess and messyness. So I think anyway. My favourite things about Him :)

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