the past few months, or years perhaps, God keeps bringing me back to the
same theme: Trust me! Take no anxious thought. Stand still and see the
deliverance of the Lord! From several different directions and in various
contexts, the message still comes: peace, be still.
As I worked on writing lesson plans for the story of Josephís life, I was struck again and again that Joseph had to trust God throughout his life! No matter what happened, no matter how bad things got, no matter that Joseph couldnít see the end from the beginning, Joseph lived his life in trust and obedience to God!
Or, think about Job. ďThough He slay me, yet will I hope in Him.Ē (Job 13:15) Regardless of the afflictions Job endured, he determined to trust God - no matter what.
And these two are not the only Biblical examples. David with Goliath. Daniel in the lionís den. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. Iím sure you have some personal favorites which come to mind too.
So why is it that we, in this age, feel so much stress, so little peace, so much turmoil? I believe it is a lack of trust in God. What causes this lack of trust? What can I do to remedy the problem?
I have been thinking a lot about the dynamics of trusting God. I think it is, in large part, a matter of making yourself completely vulnerable to Him. We donít like making ourselves vulnerable to anyone in this society. We lock our car doors even when driving down the street. We lock our homes, sometimes with several locks on one door. We use caller ID because sometimes we want the warning of who it is on the other end of the phone before we pick up the receiver and open ourselves to the intrusion. We take precautions against the ever-increasing threat of identity theft. The workplace becomes a battle ground of competition - for promotions, bonuses, perks, ego. (Letís not even talk about the damage the media does to us!)
Unfortunately, churches are seldom havens and sanctuaries (ironic, isnít it?!) from fighting, personal agendas, egos, stresses, conflicts, and the consequences of sin.
All of this spills over into our family relationships. Sometimes we donít even make ourselves vulnerable to our spouses - thereís much too much conflict to even think about being a united team. The idea of sharing each otherís burdens to make them lighter is one of the first casualties.
So we guard ourselves on every hand. Is it any wonder we struggle to make ourselves vulnerable to God - so that we can truly trust Him?
What did David or Daniel or Joseph do? How were they able to trust God so completely? As in any relationship, communication is essential. If you donít talk every day, you lose touch. If you talk three times a day, you share more intimate details then if you just talk once. If you talk while youíre reading a book or watching television, the conversation becomes surface and empty. Weíre talking about quality time and quantity time.
I think David, Daniel, and Joseph (and the myriad of other examples) must have spent a great deal of time praying to God, meditating on His ways, and looking for Him in their lives. (Iíd like to submit that itís easier to find God when you are out in nature, away from the concrete, glass, and asphalt jungles!) The more you communicate, the more you open yourself up and the more you make yourself vulnerable. You learn to trust.
So why donít we spend more time in prayer, meditation, and contemplation of God? What is eating up our time? In this age of labor-saving devices, we find ourselves with less and less time available to us for God. Television is, of course, one of the greatest time-eating evils ever invented. The infiltration of carnal, worldly, evil, and sick aspects of this society into our thoughts and eventually actions is insidious. We donít even realize whatís happening oftentimes. Itís mindless capitulation to the enemy!
But, for those who donít watch television, what prevents them from the closer relationship with Jesus Christ? It could be any number of seemingly good occupations. If our goal is to know Jesus Christ, to really learn to submit our will to God, and to become perfect, anything which prevents us from that goal is not good - no matter how attractive it looks and how good it makes us feel.
Jesus tells us in the parable of the sower and the seed to be on guard against the cares of this world. We cannot become too wrapped up in this world, in our daily lives, in the ďgood worksĒ we are doing! This life is only preparatory for Godís kingdom. We need to apply ourselves to His lessons for us.
Then as we communicate more frequently and meaningfully with our Heavenly Father, His will becomes much more evident in our lives. He makes our paths clear. As we see the evidence of His presence in our lives, we begin to trust Him more and more. We learn to rest in Him and follow His leading in our lives. Then as He continues to work in us, the fruit of the Spirit dwelling within becomes much more evident.
The peace which so easily eludes me is right there - just on the other side of the door! Jesus Christ is my Peace. I just have to let Him in, invite Him into every corner of my existence.
As I feel stressed and find myself lying awake until the wee hours of the morning, I chide myself that Iím taking those anxious thoughts. Where is my faith that God is going to work things out? Why am I not trusting that He has my best interest at heart? And I reflect on the many times He has blessed me in the past and is blessing me right now! Because He has!!!
I muse that if Iím going to be upset by such little things (walking with the foot soldiers, so to speak) how am I ever going to endure the really tough things (running with the horses - Jeremiah 12:5)? And finally, in those early morning hours, I sometimes learn to give all of my cares to Him to carry, praising Him for reminding me yet again that He is my God, my Father, my Savior, my Peace, my everything. Of what more do I have need?
Then, like the raging storm and billowing waves, I feel the calmness settle over me. I can almost hear the words being spoken:
by Cynthia Saladin