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Friday, July 7, 2017

Trusting God When Bad Gets Worse

Eight weeks ago, I broke my ankle and needed a plate and seven screws put in. I temporarily moved back with my parents because I can't put any pressure on it. I thought, "OK, maybe God wants to build my relationship with my parents. Or, He's wanting me to trust Him with my finances. At least I work from home! I got this. Trust God more!" Three and a half weeks later? I lost my job-the job I was praising God for because my broken ankle didn't hinder my work. I cried and prayed and cried some more. "Wait... I thought I was trusting God before. Am I not trusting Him enough? What's going on?"

I thought my prayers were answered when, two weeks later, I started unpaid training for a new at-home job. "Yes! God does hear my prayers! He does want what's best for me!" In the midst of all this change, I grew hopeful as I answered a call to ministry, so I began writing an extensive 5-year life plan. Things were finally looking up. My trust in God paid off! Or so I thought.
Another two weeks later and my laptop broke. The laptop that allows me to work from home. The laptop I've had for less than two years. "What. The. Heck?! Was my trust not good enough for God? Do I lack enough faith in God for Him to want to help me through my struggles?" These were real questions rooted in real pain and fear. I couldn't comprehend why I kept running (or in this case, hobbling) into a brick wall. Every time I tried to move forward, I collided again and every time, another bruise appeared. My fists were clenched and I was all but ready to shake them in the air.

The next day, my mom texted me a part of a Bible study and that's when it hit me square in the face:

my faith in God is fickle. 

It comes and goes as easily as the tide on a full moon. And when my faith focuses on what's wrong with me instead of what's awesome about God, I steal the spotlight from Him. Not in a "no longer God of the universe" kind of way, but definitely in a "no longer God of my universe."

Here's what I'm realizing, though...

God wants to make Himself known to us whether we trust Him or not. Just look at Paul on his road trip to Damascus. He wasn't even looking for God. Moreover, he was heading to Damascus to arrest and persecute Christians of the early church. So, sometimes God reveals Himself in a blinding light. Other times He speaks in a soft whisper, like when He spoke to Elijah in 1 Kings 19. We don't control how He chooses to reveal Himself. All we control is our response to His revelation.

Also, our faith and trust in God don't always change our circumstances. Sometimes they do, but in most situations, they don't. Job is the quintessential example of how, many times, we must trust God no matter our struggles simply because He is God. We may not understand why we're going through things, but that doesn't mean God is in any less control. He is still God and He still deserves our praise.

The study my mom shared posed these thoughts:
"Mother Teresa once said, 'I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust.' Which do you find yourself expressing more consistently to God - your need for clarity ("what do I do?") or your expression of trust ("I'll follow you")?"
So many times I find myself begging God to reveal my next step, my next "quest," if you will. I focus on what I'm doing for God instead of actually following God. Don't get me wrong; there are certain things that we must do as Christians no matter God's personal call on our lives. They're given to us in the Bible. But when was the last time you prayed, "God, wherever You lead, I'll follow" or "I trust You no matter my circumstances"? I know I don't. It's an ongoing struggle every Christian endures. We're bombarded by a world that claims we must be independent and strong and never ask for help but the truth is, we're meant to rely on God. We're meant to trust Him through every aspect of our lives, good or bad.

I have no idea how my struggles will be resolved because I'm still smack-dab in the middle of them. I don't really even know why I'm going through so many things at the same time. Maybe it was all for this one lesson, but I may never know on this side of heaven.

But I do know
There are countless stories throughout the Bible of how God brought His people through fires, wars, exiles, famines, genocide, and so much more. Not out of, but through. And the best story of all? God brought His Son Jesus Christ through the cross, through the grave marked by death, and brought Him back to life victoriously! If He can conquer death, my God can surely bring me through unemployment, disabilities, and broken technology.

My prayers are changing. Maybe yours are, too. No longer do I want to cry out, "Why?" but declare "Yes!" Yes to wherever, whenever, and however God leads me. I want my trust to last during the highs and lows of life. Because if my trust disintegrates at the first sign of struggle, is it really trust at all?

What about you? Do you tend to pray for clarity or declare your trust in God? What are you trusting God through now?


NOTE: Bible study is Exploring Your Gifts by Awana.com found on the Bible App.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, cleared up a few things for me. Trust and faith, there is no other way.

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