Sunday, September 25, 2016
Trusting in God
“Taking as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.” That line from the long version of the Serenity Prayer is one that made a lasting impression on me. It also took a huge weight off of my shoulders…….I didn’t have to drive myself crazy trying to change people or trying to change the situations that I found myself in. I didn’t have to fight against what was happening around me…..fighting against it just made me extremely frustrated and very sad. I just needed to accept what was happening …..aka…. trust that God would take control and make all things right. In other words, the very next sentence in the Serenity Prayer - “Trusting that He would make all things right if I surrendered to His will….”. Wow. Those two sentences are so powerful and so tempting and I want to follow them so badly because I am tired of feeling crazy inside. What is it about myself that is keeping me from letting God lead the way?
Am I so confident of myself that I think I can handle each and every situation on my own? Am I such a genius that I can figure everything out? Sometimes I am so stubborn and pig-headed that no one can tell me anything…..I know it all. HA. All I have to do is take a backward glance at my life and I should realize that I am not such a perfect being. If I’m so smart, shouldn’t I comprehend the fact that I could have used a lot of help from God? You would think so, but nooooo!
The past year has been a trying time. I sometimes feel overwhelmed with responsibilities. Yet, I also want to spend time with my hobbies and it’s sometimes a struggle within myself trying to decide should I visit my parents, should I visit my granddaughter, should I do this or that for the church, should I do this or that for Paul, should I do the housecleaning, or the paperwork, or should I go up to my studio and work on my crafts? Sometimes I just want to explode because I don’t know what to do first. God – help me! There it is…..I’ve said it. God, help me. Can God help me? The answer to that is of course God can help me. But he needs me to do something in return; and that is to trust him.
I started to think of the people in my life that I trust and the people that I don’t trust. Why do I trust some and not others? Those that I do trust follow through when they say they will do something. They are reliable. They are honest with me and aren’t afraid to tell it like it is. I admire them and the way that they live their lives. I feel safe when I am with them. I can discuss with them the issues that are on my mind, and they will listen, really listen, and show concern. They may or may not have suggestions for me….suggestions that I can choose to try or not. So, is trusting in God the same thing? I think it is, but it is also quite a bit more than that and quite a bit harder than that. I have to remember that God knows me intimately. He knows what’s right for me. I think that trusting in God requires me to be obedient to him. Being obedient is quite often difficult for an adult. It kind of goes against our egos. As a parent, I’ve been used to being the one that doles out the rules and regulations and I am the one that expected obedience in return. As an adult, I have had to make many decisions, and I could make those decisions because I trusted myself to make the best decision possible. But sometimes, there are events or situations that arise where I don’t know what to do. What I should do, is listen to my heart, for God is there within in, willing and eager to help me. I need to put my ego aside and just listen and then actually do it. Perhaps it’s not really obedience in the typical sense of the word, but what I mean by being obedient to God means working with Him to produce the results needed. I cannot sit down and fold my hands in idleness and expect things to work out on their own. Faith and works must go together. I must permit God to direct my efforts. I must be willing to work when He wants me to work and in the way He wants me to work. My attempts to trust will amount to nothing if I am not willing to listen and follow his direction. But what if the path God is directing me toward is not a path that I myself would choose. What then? Am I trusting enough to follow and comply when the thing commanded is something I myself would not choose to do?
When the path God has chosen for me is something out of my comfort zone, I may start to worry instead of trusting that God knows what is best for me. We all know that worrying doesn’t solve anything. When we worry we become anxious. Trust takes away the anxiety. Think about what happens when worry takes over. A large portion of energy and time is used up when worrying, sometimes so much time that anxiety takes over your life; worrying can become such a habit that peace and calmness and assurance have little room in our lives. The cure for all this is trust. Trust brings confidence. Trust whispers to our souls that there is no cause to worry. It tells us that God holds the helm of our vessel. It asks us to have courage, assuring us that God is our refuge and strength, that our lives are in his hands, and that he will work out for us the things that are best. Remember that when you worry you are not trusting, and that when you trust you are not worrying. Worry depresses, discourages, and weakens. It never helps us in any way. It is always a hindrance to us. God wants to bring into our lives a peaceful calm. He would have us without anxiety, as care-free as the birds. It is trust that brings us this experience.
Trust also implies patience. Even God cannot work everything out immediately. So many times we want the answers to our prayers right away. If they do not come quickly, we grow impatient and think God is not going to answer. There is no use trying to hurry the Lord; we shall only hinder him if we do. He will not work according to our plans, but according to his own. Time does not matter as much to God as it does to us.
Trust means that we will not fear the outcome, for many times, the outcome is not something that was expected. What happens to our trust when that occurs? Many times, we moan and groan that things didn’t turn out “right.” But what is “right” to you and what is right to God are probably two totally different things. How can we say that something didn’t turn out right, when we have no idea of what God has planned for us in the future? Only after we look back and reflect on what happened will we see that God did exactly what was right for us.
You know, there is a formula for trust. It is Faith + Hope = Trust. Faith is belief that God is; Hope is believing that God will do what he has promised, and Trust is living in absolute confidence in God’s unconditional love and having confidence that God is telling you the right thing to do, even when it doesn’t make sense to you.
It’s easy to have faith, hope and trust when life is good. But there are many obstacles that make it hard to trust in God’s love and goodness, such as pain and suffering. Physical and emotional pain can keep us self-absorbed and unsure that God is reliable. Some people are so badly bruised and traumatized that they can barely survive one day at a time. But, trusting in God does not mean that people won’t get hurt. God has not promised that he will give us good health, or wealth, or even that we will be happy all the time. But he does promise that He will be with us through our struggles and our disappointments. Perhaps these struggles and disappointments are just what we need in order to build us up, or perhaps we need to learn something. It is during these times that we need to trust in God’s infinite wisdom to do what is right for us at that particular time in our lives.
Trusting in God is one of the hardest things to do. But, when we truly trust the Lord with our hearts, we give Him permission and freedom to direct us without us getting in his way. He won’t force anything on us. But we must let go of our egos. By not trusting him, We are trying to retain control over our situations. But because of our limits as human beings, we really have no control anyway. Rather than telling God exactly what you think you need for yourself, ask Him to do what is best for you (Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done) and trust that whatever happens is what He wants for you at this time.
God wants us to have full and abundant lives. He only asks that we believe in Him. When we do, He can then make us the people He wants us to be.
Life is simple and peaceful when we come to God like little children and say, “God, I don’t want to live on my own. I want to trust You. When I don’t know what to do, I’ll trust You. When I don’t understand why, I’ll trust You. I’ll do my part with Your help, and when I’m done, I’ll trust You to do the rest.”