Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Trusting God with Reckless Abandon

The Lord is good, a Strength and Stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows (recognizes, has knowledge of, and understands) those who take refuge and trust in Him. Nahum 1:7 Amplified Bible
I think I can safely say that most of us trust God to some extent.  We will all say that we trust God for our salvation...but do we trust Him with our mundane, everyday needs—having enough money for groceries and bills, getting along with our co-workers and those difficult people who must be gotten along with?  Do we trust God as much as we can trust Him?  As much as He wants us to trust Him?  Can we honestly say that we follow Solomon's directions in Proverbs 3:5:  “Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”?
What about Psalm 56:11: “In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid...”?  Does that mean that I can't claim to trust God and still worry about stuff?  It looks that way to me.  What do you think?  According to that text, the opposite of trust is fear.  It's not possible to do both.

Think about tithing.  When we pay our tithe, we're trusting God to make 90 percent of our income cover 100% of our bills.  Or what about keeping the Sabbath.  We're trusting God to help us complete in six days what should take seven.  Have you ever known someone who paid their tithe and then worried all the time about how they were going to make ends meet?  Or someone who keeps the Sabbath, but worries all Sabbath long about what he (or she) should be doing?

When I was in college, I knew folks who gladly put away their studies as soon as the sun went down on Friday night and didn't think about them again...well, until well after Sabbath was over.  I knew folks who kept studying right through Sabbath because they felt they wouldn't be able to get finished if they put their books up for that 24 hour period.  And I also knew folks who grudgingly put their books away and spent Sabbath wondering how they'd get it all done come Saturday night. 

Now, I'll admit that I was part of the first group, but mostly because I was not much of a studier and was always happy to find some excuse to put my studies away.  But after watching all three groups of people, I can definitely say that those who willingly took Sabbath off and worked hard the rest of the week, accomplished at least the same amount of work that those who studied through Sabbath did.  I learned that I can trust God to make six days of work stretch to fit seven days of tasks.

Of course the same types of things happen when we tithe.  Miracles happen when we trust God in the little parts of our lives. 

But do we trust God to build us into the people who can work for Him?  We tell God that we want to do great things for Him, but are we willing to let God create the ability to accomplish those great things?  Or do we take off on our own because we feel like God is moving too slowly and we want to get the job done right now?  Do we trust God to heal us when we've hit the wall because we've run out ahead of Him?  Do we trust Him with our broken hearts and shattered dreams?

One author I read this week reminds us that we are called 
“to trust God in the midst of it all; to keep returning to the Lord; to continually acknowledge His sovereign control and absolute goodness in the face of crippling pain. ...He is an expert at fixing broken things.  He's also the master of breaking things that need fixing.” 
What an amazing thought!  We are called...called to be broken, so that we can be mended to “use what is broken to magnify His glory and spread His gospel of grace throughout your sphere of influence.”
“God offers us peace in the time of war, and He takes away our peace when our desire for comfort distorts our sense of right and wrong. God is never a reflection of us at all, and yet He always responds to us right where we are.  He provides for the poor, the hungry, the thirsty.  He humbles the rich and powerful who make themselves fat from the bitter toiling and suffering of others.”  
Isn't that amazing?  God knows exactly what we need and when we need it, and He's demonstrated it over and over again.  But we still have a hard time trusting His methods and timing.  Well, I do anyway.

But then God reminds me through Isaiah, 
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
What a blessing to know that God knows when I am afraid and He promises that He will make me strong again and help me.  You too.

I want you to read this (probably apocryphal) story that has made the rounds of e-mails asking you to forward it to your closest friends so that your wishes will all come true.  Because of that, I think I didn't really read it the first couple of times.  Maybe you didn't either, but I'm not asking you to forward this to anybody.  Just think about the amount of faith this one man had.

A pastor stood and walked to the pulpit and introduced a guest minister.  In the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the guest minister was one of his dearest childhood friends.

An elderly man then stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak.  “A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific coast,” he began, “when a fast-approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to the shore.  The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright and the three were swept into to ocean as the boat capsized.”

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story.  The aged minister continued with his story.  “Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life; to which boy would he throw the other end of the life line?  He only had seconds to make the decision.  The father knew that his son had given his heart to Jesus and he also knew that his son's friend had not.  The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of the waves.

As the father yelled out, “I love you, son!” He threw the lifeline to his son's friend.  By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swells into the black of night.  His body was never recovered. 

By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old minister's mouth. 

“The father” he continued, “was confident that his son knew Jesus as his Savior and he could not bear the thought of his son's friend dying with out Jesus.  Therefore he sacrificed his son to save his son's friend.
“How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us.  Our Heavenly Father sacrificed his only-begotten Son that we could be saved.  I urge you to accept His offer to rescue you and take hold of the lifeline He is throwing out to you.”  
With that, the old man turned and sat back down as silenced filled the room.

As soon as the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man's side.  “That was a nice story,” one said, “but I don't think it was very realistic for a father to give up his only son's life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.”

“Well, you've got a point there,” the old man replied glancing down at his worn Bible.  A big smile broadened his narrow face.  He looked up at the boys and said, “It sure isn't very realistic is it?  But I'm standing here today to tell you that that story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His Son for me.  You see, I was that father and your pastor is my son's friend.”
“Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,    they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:28-31

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, for posting this it has blessed me greatly. God bless, you. Amber