Do you trust God? Do I?
That’s not a flippant question, although most of us instinctively answered, “Yes,” without giving it too much thought. Because, if I’m completely honest, I’m not sure I like the answer.
I want to trust God. In some things, I do trust God. Hmmm, at least most of the time. Sigh. This is so hard. It’s not really a black and white question with a concrete answer. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at two different situations.
In Genesis chapter 18, Abraham and Sarah are advanced in age. Senior citizens. Old. According to verse 11, Sarah was “past the age of childbearing.” Literally, in the Hebrew, the phrase is “the way of women had ceased for Sarah,” or in our modern language, she was post-menopausal. Yet the Lord stood before Abraham and boldly declared, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son” (verse 10).
It’s not the first time Abraham had heard this promise. Back in Genesis 15, fourteen years prior to chapter 18, God promises “a son from [Abraham’s] own body” (verse 4). This is when the whole trust issue peeked its head out of Sarah’s heart.
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her” (Genesis 16:1-2).
Hagar got pregnant, and the rest is troubled history.
Several years later, Abraham and Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Isaac grew up and married Rebekah, and then they had twin sons named Esau and Jacob. Once Isaac was old, his eyes began failing him.
Isaac said [to Esau], “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. Now then, get your equipment—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die” (Genesis 27:2-4).
Giving a blessing to the oldest son was tradition, but Rebekah had something else in mind. She favored Jacob and wanted him to have the blessing instead. So she came up with a plan to deceive Isaac, which worked perfectly.
The problem, though—I mean, besides the fact that she and her son tricked a man they supposedly loved—is that Rebekah already had some inside knowledge. Years before, when the boys were still in her womb, the Lord told her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23).
No matter what happened with this blessing, God had already said that Esau would serve Jacob. But God’s word to Rebekah wasn’t enough.
Rebekah’s and Sarah’s problem is also our problem.
Rebekah and Sarah shared the same problem. Their actions revealed a lack of trust in God. They heard His promise, they believed in it enough to be looking for it, but they didn’t trust God enough to watch Him fulfill it. In other words, they believed God was powerful enough to make the promise but not powerful enough to bring it to fruition.
Would they have admitted that? I don’t know. But their actions clearly show it.
And so do ours.
- How about when we grab hold of a dream God planted in our hearts, then work ourselves hard, not taking care of ourselves with adequate sleep, rest, exercise, time with our family, and more?
- Or what about when God whispers a piece of our future, and we immediately set to work, rushing ahead, drowning ourselves in everything about it, forgetting or neglecting other God-given assignments around us.
- And we can’t forget about those times when disaster strikes and we work or worry, desperately striving to fix it on our own, with little to no help from anyone including God.
In every one of these examples, we (or me or Sarah or Rebekah or you) are trying to control life. Command the situation. Take charge of the outcome.
And that’s not our job.
We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails. Proverbs 19:21, The Message
The Bible says that God gave King Solomon, third king of Israel, “wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore” (1 Kings 4:30). After years of living, thinking, and listening to others, Solomon declared in Ecclesiastes 12:13:
Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
Our job is to obey God, which includes growing in our trust of Him. Period. Turthfully, that’s a pretty big job all in itself, so let’s strive to leave the fulfilling of promises to Him.
He does it better than we could anyway.
In Crossing’s Redemption, the fourth book in my Crossing series, Patricia argues with God about a situation she’s been trying to control for years. When she finally stops to listen to Him, will she like what He has to say?
Many in Crossing, Oregon, would describe long-time resident Patricia Guire as an eclectic force to be reckoned with, one who speaks her mind. Yet something is changing. She seems to be dropping out of her normal activities, becoming scarce around town and less available to her friends. Amber Yager feels called to check in on Patricia. Yet as she spends time with her and discovers Patricia’s hidden past, she is drawn into a group that brings disquiet to her own soul, ripping open old wounds. Will the love she’s found in Crossing be taken from her? Or could both Amber and Patricia finally find peace as God shines light into the darkest places of their hearts?