Trusting God can be a great challenge. Many if not most people of faith have gone through passages in which trusting God waxes and wanes. We are human and if you look at the lives of many people who had great faith in the Bible, often such people went through moments in which trusting God was difficult.
This last week on Sunday I spoke about the faith of the prophet Jeremiah. His life was anything but easy, often quite the opposite. Jeremiah’s faith and the challenges he went through offer us some invaluable lessons. Jeremiah’s trust in God did not involve saying there is no pain, or that bad things don’t happen. Nor did the trust Jeremiah had in God suggest we should never have questions, even questions that cannot be answered.
Jeremiah had all kinds of questions for God as can be seen in his writings. Jeremiah often questioned himself, struggled with self-esteem, and wondered why on earth his life was the way it was at times, and yet, he trusted God in the midst of it all.
Yes Jeremiah’s faith and the faith of so many others tells us that faith is about believing God does and will deal with everything in a way that is ultimately good for us, even if that good is not visible or beyond the horizon of this life. That we know that God is love and such love infuses our lives. Trusting God is something to work on each and every day. CS Lewis once said, “Relying on God has to begin all over again everyday as if nothing had yet been done.”
Trusting God means being patient and realizing that trust is rarely something that is constant, but waxes and wanes at times. It is all about accepting that Jesus was raised from the dead and that Easter tells us an amazing eternity lies ahead. Trust means we focus on God more than worry. It means being open to surprises, twists and turns, and life taking very unexpected directions. It means to take the words of Proverbs 3 to heart which say, “trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.”
Trust is all about holding nothing back from God. It is about getting to know people who trust God and a willingness to learn from them. Trust is often a moment to moment decision, a choice we can make. And it is so important for me to say that trusting God at times is very difficult, at least it has been for me at times.
So what happens when we are overwhelmed and trusting God feels out of reach? I don’t have easy answers but I will share just some of the thoughts I have shared in different contexts many times before. Turning to CS Lewis, here is what he wrote. “In one sense, the road back to God is…trying harder and harder. But in another sense, it is not trying that is ever going to bring us home. All of this leads up to the vital moment, at which you turn to God and say, ‘You must do this. I can’t.’”
I believe that when our trust is waning or hard to find, it is then that God invites us to say to God something like, “God I want to trust you but I am really finding it hard to do so. God please help me to trust you because I can’t get there on my own right now. God, you must. I can’t.”
This is not about giving in, it is about turning to God with all of our heart, mind, strength and soul and giving it all to God, which is what God seeks to begin with. I love what Eugene Peterson writes. “You are blessed when you are at the end of your rope. With less of you, there is more for God.”
Wherever you are this day in your life journey, the phrase, “God you must, I can’t,” I believe, is invaluable to keep front and center in our lives when our faith wanes, when we are going through pain or some other seemingly impossible situation, or simply when we just don’t know what to do. And through all the joys and sorrows in life, regardless of where we are with trust, remember, as Paul wrote, that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God found in Christ Jesus.