Saturday, April 17, 2010

Trusting as a conscious choice

Trust. It's a word we use daily and often with very good reason. I might trust that a friend will keep their word and meet me for lunch, or that the postman will arrive on time (though that's sometimes more of a hope!). When it comes to trust their is a reason why we trust. It is based on fact, on something we firmly believe, on evidence. I trust that my friend will keep their word and meet me for lunch because they have either met me for lunch previously or our friendship is such that their word is bond. As for the postman, we are blessed with a prompt postie and it's a rare occurrence when we have to set the cats on him. But this is an interesting point that I think we often stop at when it comes to trust, especially when it comes to trusting God.

We base our trust on the fact of a situation - such as the bedrock of the relationship or familiarity of a situation. Take the example of a difficult situation, say being made redundant. It's very easy to say to somebody 'trust God with this situation, he can strengthen you through it. He'll provide what you need.' Now first of all, there's awesome truth there which we mustn't forget: God will strengthen you through difficult situations and he daily provides what we need to sustain us. However, it is very easy to stop there. With the fact that God is capable of providing, or supporting, or sustaining through his strength and providence. But trust is a conscious choice that we must make. To simply presume that God will do something because he is capable of doing it cheapens the beautiful conversational relationship that God invites us into by reducing that relationship to that of a patient coming to a doctor for help when he feels he needs it.

The Casting Crowns song 'Voice of truth' puts it simply and beautifully when it says 'I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.' Choosing to listen, to believe, to trust is an active ongoing choice. Going back to the analogy of the friend coming for lunch, if you really do trust they'll turn up for lunch, you plan to get there on time (though not vital), pitch up and wait for them. You trust they will turn up, and you show that trust by acting on it consciously, allowing them time to turn up or let you know plans have had to change.

When it comes to trusting God, it is easy to recite passages about who God is, about how he strengthened biblical characters like Gideon at Jericho and Paul and Barnabus as they went around, but if we aren't consciously acting on what we know of God, working, striving, persevering in our situation, then that trust is a hollow statement of fact. A hollow chocolate egg - looking all sweet and inviting on the outside, but no real substance on the inside.

Going back to the example of being made redundant, and I appreciate that background and situation - single/married, renting/mortgage/owned - alter the human side of things, but God remains the same father, provider and shepherd that he's always been. You're reminded by friends that God will provide for you (true) and that he will strengthen you through the tough times ahead (also very true, praise God!). There's the fact, God will provide & God will strengthen you. Now comes the conscious choice in trusting. In the film 'Facing the giants', the illustration is given of 2 farmers being told during a drought that God would provide rain for their fields. They both said they trusted he would, however one farmer ran out into his fields and began digging at the arid earth and planting seeds. The 2nd farmer shouts out after him 'what are you doing?!' To which the 1st farmer replies, 'Preparing for rain.' The question I feel when it comes to trusting God is, 'If you trust God will provide the rain you need, are you preparing for it?' I thought about this recently with applying for jobs and was reminded that trusting that God will provide the right job for the coming academic year, my trusting him is consciously worked out in applying for jobs, preparing the ground for rain, setting my heart on God providing for my needs. If God's going to open a door, he certainly doesn't call us to sit on our behinds and wait for a door to open - he expects us to start knocking!

As you're sitting enjoying a cup of coffee, your friend phones up as you sit in the cafe and lets you know that something's come up and your coffee's going to have to be rescheduled for tomorrow. Part of you may be sad, maybe even annoyed that your coffee meet-up's been cancelled, but your trust in your friend shouldn't have been dented. They remain trustworthy, and your relationship you have with them ensures that next time you'll look forward to meeting them with the same trust and anticipation as today. Circumstances change, but they remain the same. And circumstances will change, but if we consciously choose to trust, then find wonderful satisfaction and peace in acting in the knowledge that they will make that cup of coffee with you. It may be at their home, or at a different coffee bar. It may be on a different day and become lunch rather than coffee, but it'll happen.

Are we willing to allow God's provision and good will to be flexible, knowing he's good? We're called to know him, and the more you read his word the more you get to know him, and act and make decisions consciously trusting that he will act. Be a David to the world's Goliath.



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

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