Thursday, July 3, 2014
Stretched by God
Ever heard words like that? Sometimes, people who say that can be the least trustworthy people you may ever meet… like they have to convince you to trust them. Other times, the issue is more our own, and we need to learn how to let go of control long enough to actually trust another person. Perhaps you have gone on trust walks, or done the little trust exercise where you fall backwards trusting that the person behind you will catch you. Those things are relevant because trust can be a difficult experience. It is critical in a marriage, but because of the betrayals leading to and during a divorce, it can be a tough thing to be able to do if reconciliation occurs or when a divorced person remarries. Beyond that, trust is a central key when it comes to one’s relationship with God…so much so that we regularly use the terminology of “faith” for those who are followers of Christ. Is trust an easy issue for you?
Some people have a hard time trusting God. In fact, I suspect most of us experience situations that stretch us, so that there are times in our lives when God allows certain extreme scenarios to arise for the purpose of teaching us how to trust. Trust isn’t as hard as some might thing. We do it all the time. When we drive over a bridge, we trust the designers, the materials and the inspectors. When we accelerate our automobiles, we trust the individuals who designed and maintained our brakes, that we will be able to slow and stop the car. We trust the doctors who prescribe little pills, and we trust the pharmacists who bottle them for us, as well as the researchers who create them. We trust the pilot of the airplane, the captain of the ship, the engineer on the subway train or the driver of the bus every time we step onto their vehicle. The list is endless. Generally speaking, that trust is well founded. Occasionally, we find it was not. But even so, none of us ever makes the pilot show us his license, inquire of his training and physical condition, or question his experience before we board a plane. Even though we know there are times pilots have made mistakes. Because we know that there are government agencies and oversight boards who do those things for us. Trust is built into our society, from the water we drink and food we eat to the most complicated medical procedure we undergo. And yet, all too often people struggle to truly trust God. Why is that?
Perhaps it is because they don’t know God well…although I have never met the person who designed the brakes on my automobile! Perhaps it is because they don’t know the character of God…although I don’t really know too much about what kind of people are on the board of the bank where my money is held. Perhaps it is because we cannot see God… although I have never seen the people or the process by which my medicine is created. Perhaps it is because we don’t really like not being in control! Perhaps.
Many situations in life present a challenge to whether we trust God or not. Divorce is certainly one of those, as we face an uncertain future, financial upheaval or fears of ever entering another relationship again. For whatever area of life that trust is an issue for you, I invite you to consider the following passage from Matthew 6:25-33 (NASB):
25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
You see, there is less in our absolute control than most of us would like to believe. Think of that the next time you reach for a light switch that somebody else designed and made to carry electricity that somebody else generated through the wires somebody else made on the way to the light bulb somebody else designed and made that you have placed in the lamp somebody else produced. Instead of trusting, many of us worry, often over things that are ultimately of no consequence in our lives. In fact, God is the most trustworthy individual that has ever existed. In the hardships of life, why are so many of us so willing to trust everything and everyone else, but hesitant to trust the God who gave us life in the first place, and whose plans for our lives are truly perfect? I don’t know that I would claim to have the answer to why we don’t. But even though I struggle with trust at times as much as anybody, I do believe that is MY issue, not God’s…and that life works best and hardships resolve best when I am trusting God through them. How about you?