I have been to a couple of conferences lately that have addressed a basic, but profound question: “Do you trust God?” Many of the speakers have stood on the stage and asked the audience this question. I have been wrestling with it myself lately. Our immediate reaction to such a question is, “Of course.” Then, we begin to talk about how good God is, the many blessings He has given us, and His faithfulness to us. I am afraid, however, that our actions do not back up our words. I cannot speak for you, but I have begun to examine my own life to see if I am really trusting God.
This is not a surface issue, but a deep, emotional one. I have counseled many people who have issues with trusting people that ultimately end up transferring over to distrust in God. Not intentionally, but as a result of living in a broken world where they have learned that trusting people only ends with heartache. The first few sermons I heard on this I almost brushed aside callously because I felt I had plenty of evidence in my own life to say that I certainly trusted God. It was not until a recent conference speaker made a point that I will never forget that I looked deeper into who I am as a believer in Christ. He said, “Trusting God does not always mean you get to come down from the cross.” Wow. I was blown away. It is a simple concept, but I immediately began to process this. You see, in Scripture, there is a powerful seen that takes place at the cross. Matthew 27:43 says, “He has put his trust in God; let God rescue Him now—if He wants Him! For He said, ‘I am God’s Son.'” The chief priests and scribes are mocking Jesus. I do not know if you are getting the same feeling that I do, but I had never looked at this passage in the way that the Holy Spirit was revealing it to me through this speaker’s testimony about his journey with cancer. Christ trusted God and obeyed Him to the point of the cross. We know this. He could have come down. We know this. Yet, please do not miss the application in this verse as I am afraid I have been guilty of. When we trust God, we must trust Him completely.
Again, on the surface we are fine with such statements. However, if trusting God meant you lost your child or husband, if you never became a mother, you lost your job, if you got cancer, or you were tortured to death on a mission trip, would it be well with your soul? This is the hard question. We say we trust God, but I am afraid that sometimes it is only because we want Him to rescue us from the cross; from the current circumstances and discomforts of our life. Our faith is in Him as long as He comes through in the way we desire. This is certainly what Scripture would call a hard saying. Christ is our example, and His example was to trust God to the point of following Him to the cross. Christ prayed in Matthew 26:39, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” He knew what becoming our sin and drinking God’s wrath for our punishment would be, but He became sin and took our death on Himself because He trusted God’s will and plan. He was obedient to His father.
I do not know about you, but this puts Luke 9:23 in a different context for me. Scripture says, “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.'” If we want to be true disciples and followers of Christ, we have to be obedient to God to the point of whatever cross He has called us to bare. The Christian life does not mean that we have a super hero Savior who rushes in every time we have a want. Please do not misunderstand me, God will take care of His children and provide for their needs as Scripture promises, but that does not mean we will understand the way in which He accomplishes this. We serve a HUGE God who sees the big picture of our lives and the life of all His creation. Sometimes, not coming down from the cross may be the best thing for us. After all, Christ staying on the cross saved our souls.
It is our souls, you see, that God is ultimately concerned with. The speaker made another comment that he was told by John Piper: “Suffering is a wonderful hermeneutic.” A hermeneutic is a way in which you read/interpret Scripture. Suffering allows us to focus more on Christ and His purpose for our lives and less on our own selfish wants and plans. If you have ever been in a valley, I am sure you have found this to be true. God reveals Himself in such an amazing way when all we have left is to rely on and truly trust Him.
You may not need this blog this week. You may genuinely trust God in all areas of your life. We all have room for improvement, though. God has pricked my heart, however, to trust Him more; even if it means I do not get to come down from the cross. It is both terrifying and exhilarating. God’s will is perfect, and we can trust Him will all that we are and all that we are not. He is sufficient. May you be encouraged to examine your own life through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. May God continue to challenge us and grow us in our walk with Him. I would like to leave you with the chorus to a song by Mercy Me:
“Bring me joy, bring me peace.
Bring the chance to be free.
Bring me anything that brings You glory.
And I know there’ll be days,
When this life brings me pain.
But if that’s what it takes to praise You,
Jesus, bring the rain.”
May this be our prayer. Be blessed!