Faith and trust are often overlooked.
We assume that because we believe in a supreme being, we’ve covered all of our bases. God, faith, hope, trust…all of it, nailed. But we’ve missed the point.
He wants a relationship. He wants intimacy. And He wants the moments when you don’t trust Him.
He wants you to call out and say, “I don’t believe you, but I want to. Help me. Have mercy on me.” (Mark 9:24).
He wants you to acknowledge the icky parts of your life that would threaten to disarm, discourage you, dismantle you. The things you’re thinking about right now… The ones that keep your lips sealed shut in the presence of friends and your heart mindlessly numbed in your loneliness. He wants all of that.
For me, those moments took the form of overarching statements – things I proclaimed to be true, simply because investigating the foundations of my claims would be too painful.
- “God has left me in a season of wanting for too long. I suppose this is the life He has chosen for me. I think He wants me to remain in a place where I do not receive my deepest desires.”
- “Okay, I know He is good. He can rescue me from X and Y, but I really don’t see how He can do Z. I’m not in any circumstance where that could be possible right now.”
Readers, understand that these are lies and that they do not reflect the character of my God. Here was His answer:
Last night, I caught up on long-overdue readings by starting in my favorite book: Psalms. I flipped to the center and began with Psalm 77. Imagine my surprise when I learned that I was not alone in my frail trust!
When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted… You don’t let me sleep. I am too distressed even to pray! I think of the good old days…when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now. Has the Lord rejected me forever? And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.”
Wow. I can’t count the amount of times I have prayed almost the exact words expressed in this Psalm. All of the hurt and waiting and longing leads to one very human conclusion: this is my life now. Sadness and dejection are what God is pleased to see me live.
No. No, friends, if you have ever said these words – as I have – I beg you to continue reading this passage.
BUT THEN I recall all you have done, O Lord. I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works…
And the writer goes on to describe God’s extraordinary intervention. My favorite is verse 19: “Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters – a pathway no one knew was there!”
Hmph. Isn’t that an answer to my unbelief which stemmed from not being able to see how He would do something? I don’t need to see the details; I just need to know and trust that they are there. The plan is there. More importantly, He is there.
And in response to only trusting “half” of God’s power (which isn’t possible, by the way. He’s an all-or-nothing kind of God), Psalm 78 described Israel’s relationship with Him as they were led through the desert.
They stubbornly tested God in their hearts… “God can’t give us food in the wilderness. yes, he can strike a rock so water gushes out, but he can’t give his people bread and meat.”
And that grieved Him. It must grieve Him when I do it, too. I’ll acknowledge some of His greatness and wonder, but undermine the grand implications of such an undeserved gift by saying, “but He didn’t do this for me, so He probably can’t.”
God did give Israel the things they needed, by the way. He even gave them the things they wanted, causing birds to fall from the sky and into their camps so they could have the meat they so desired. But they forgot Him again, and He corrected them.
Forgive me, Abba. Forgive me for all the times I have forgotten you, or have been too lazy to learn who You are.
And for you, friends, I deeply hope that you will learn His character today. He is not one to abandon you or throw you into misery. Follow Him and take His hand, dear friends. He knows the way.