Well, first let me preface this post by saying I’m not so much referring to the moment of conversion, when you become a Christian. But I’m referring to is the on-going process of trusting in God to be who he said he is.
The other day I got into a good discussion with friends about trusting in the Lord. “What does that mean?” one asked. I think on a surface level we understand that to be trust that God is on our side and work things out. But I think it needs to deeper than that – trusting in who God says he is and relying on that in the face of contradictions.
Now, I’m about to get real honest in this post. What about to share is not for those whose life has gone pretty well or even better than expected and/or those inclined to dismiss the realities of living with deep disappointments. If that’s you, you might want to sit this one out.
For those who have experienced disappointing twists and turns, busted dreams, failures of various sorts and the overwhelming feeling that you thought your life would turn out better than it has, and boatloads of unanswered prayer this post will probably resonate with you. Because let’s be honest, all of these factors can take a toll on our ability to trust in the character of God. You can be substantially challenged when experiencing a good amount of unanswered prayer, when you’ve longed for him to intervene in situations and circumstances and he hasn’t and those nagging questions if God really cares bubble up. It’s when you’ve poured your heart out to the Lord for years for personal concerns to get back…nothing. It’s when you’re confronted with pending change of circumstances for the worse, and you wonder is God going to hear me this time? I know I have. And I know how easy that is, over time, to allow those thoughts to dominate, to shape how we see the character of God.
Now I know that following Christ does not guarantee a life of positive outcomes. We would do well to recognize, contrary to the distortions of prosperity peddlers, that submitting to the lordship of Christ will most likely result in loss and suffering of various sorts. No one honestly reading the New Testament can come to any other conclusion. So I surely get and appreciate that our hope is not anchored in the provision of golden apples. But let’s get real. God is also a giver of good material gifts and delights to do good for us. And it can get incredibly difficult listening to persistent chimes of those whose lives have been touched because God heard and responded and not have that affect you. Let’s be honest about that.
What I’ve discovered through years of disappointments, is that there are perpetual triggers that cause doubt and discouragement. Those triggers arise, often without warning, and attempt to shape a narrative of who God is based on the fragility of our minds, tempered by voices that can grow louder with time. Those thoughts come and whisper in our ears, “See he does not care about you.” “He is not interested in responding to you.” “Save your cries to him, it doesn’t matter.” You can begin to indict God’s goodness and faithfulness.
And I have found it’s in those little moments full of big lies where trusting the Lord is on the line. You see, it’s easy to trust from a macro level, knowing that you’ve placed saving faith in Jesus Christ and through union with Christ, are reconciled to the Father. You live as a Christian because you are his. It’s easy to allow our activities of church going, bible reading, fellowship, and even discussion allow us to give the allusion that we are actually trusting in the Lord simply because we say we do. To some extent, I suppose it’s true or else we wouldn’t keep engaging in various activities that keep us on track.
But do we actually believe what God has revealed about himself and about who we are in Christ? Do we believe that God is good and actually on our side? Do we believe that he delights in his kids even when it doesn’t look or feel like he does? That’s where the rubber meets the road. I am further convinced that our trust walk requires believing what that means in those micro moments of doubt, fear and lies. It’s choosing to either believe the lie of the voices or the truth of God’s character that he has revealed through his written word, and fully expressed through the Son. He will be our God and we will be his people. He loves us, as demonstrated through the sacrificial and atoning death of his Son. It’s when we look to his work, his statements, his story and anchor our thoughts and hopes on that, even when it doesn’t seem to make sense, because it doesn’t feel that way. It’s when we confront the lies in each moment they arise, yet choose to believe the truth, recognizing the necessity of bringing every thought that exalts itself above the righteous character of God, captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).
That’s the moment we trust in the Lord. And we take each moment as it comes for it is the compilation of moments that fuel us in a lifestyle of trusting in the Lord with all our heart and leaning not to our own understanding. (Prov. 3:5).