Monday, August 4, 2014

But I Trust in You....

I have always been a sucker for a great quote. I have several quotes that I post around my classroom and have even had a quote of the day for several years while teaching. Yesterday, while catching up on one of my favorite shows that I record and watch later, one of the characters said a line that made me stop for a moment and say a mental "wow." In that one line, God began to speak this next blog post.

" Your gratitude is nice, but what I want is your trust." (Auggie, Covert Affairs) 

Now before you think I am one of those people who can find a connection to God in anything, let me say that I don't really mean to do so; I think it is more like God finds me. It isn't like I watch a show and think, "I wonder what God is going to say to me through Law and Order today." Or go to the movies with the mindset that Denzel's next line is going to be a Spiritual awakening in my heart. What happens is much more subtle than that. Something more akin to a whisper of God, " Did you see/hear that? Don't you see how that is just like me?" or "Did you see what I did there?" So when Auggie said, "Your gratitude is nice, but what I want is your trust." God said, "Just like my relationship with my children; why is it so hard to trust me? " Whoa - that was unexpected. I watched the rest of the show and went about my day in normal fashion, but the lingering thought kept coming to me, "Your gratitude is nice, but what I want is your trust."

As I was trying to sleep that night and knew that I would be writing this, my mind raced. I thought about all the things we so readily give our trust to every single day, but somehow handing our trust over to the Creator of the World causes such internal turmoil and resistance. I mean honestly think about all the people and things we put our trust in today. Have you ever had your car parked by a valet? I know some of you adore (possibly idolize) that car, but you trust some random stranger in khakis to park your car for you without a scratch. We trust that the rest of the general public will follow at least enough driving rules daily that when we get out on the roads in our vehicle, we will return safely; this despite the inordinate number of accidents that happen in a 24 hour time period. We trust our bank with our hard-earned money. We trust our well-educated doctor to treat our ailments accurately. We trust people we barely know to watch our children while we work or even while we work out! We even trust random strangers to cook our meals for us on a regular basis! We trust pilots to fly us to our destination.  We trust our friends, our coworkers, our family, our ministers. We put our trust in the most fallible creature on the planet every day and rarely think twice about it. But when God asks us to trust him often He is greeted by whining, and wailing and whys. Whoa.

Proverbs 3:5-6Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

and do not rely on your own understanding;

think about Him in all your ways,

and He will guide you on the right paths.

"Your gratitude is nice, but what I want is your trust." 
We give our gratitude freely. I mean, that should be enough right? So, I searched the words, "trust in the Lord" in a Bible app I like to use and it gave me 56 different scripture references that all say that exact phrase. I looked up just the word, "gratitude" and received two different scriptures and only one of them was in reference to the Lord. Now I am sure you are thinking that the word "thanks"( and is basically the same as gratitude) is listed throughout scripture and you would be correct. But I want you to consider that having gratitude and giving thanks are two different, albeit connected, ideas. Gratitude is a state of the heart; a way of feeling. Whereas giving thanks is an act spurred on by gratitude. Gratitude is a way we feel after God does something, trust on the other hand is required prior to God's work.

 We are never really commanded to have gratitude in our hearts, but we are commanded to trust with all our heart. The Psalms are filled with verses about trusting in the Lord, and what that means. Many of the scriptures that talk about trusting him also give us the promises that go along with that trust. I think trust is an act of the heart, something that combines both the state of the heart and an accompanying action.

Psalm 28:7New International Version (NIV)

The Lord is my strength and my shield;

    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
    and with my song I praise him.

I've thought that maybe we have a difficult time trusting the Lord because we don't really know him. But then I am reminded again of all the people we do not know, or barely know, that we trust daily. Sometimes that trust is even ruined by a person and yet we turn around and place the same trust in another random stranger. For instance, my husband once contracted food poisoning from a meal eaten at a particular restaurant. It was terrible and landed us in the emergency room at our local hospital. Granted, we have not gone back to that particular restaurant, but we have eaten in numerous restaurants since then. Most, if not all, with people cooking our food that we do not know. I know people who have had a terrible haircut experience, but that has not stopped them from getting their hair done by someone. Or a misdiagnosis from a doctor, or a bad manicure, or misinformation passed on from a friend, or gossip spread by a coworker. The list could go on for miles. Some of them we even chalk up to human error and continue to trust that same person; I mean everyone has an off day, right?

So why then is it so hard to trust the One who never has an off day? The One who knit us together in our mother's womb. (Psalm 139:13) The One whose promises are lavished upon us over and over in His love-letter to our hearts; promises that only can come from the Creator himself. Promises that the good works He has started in us, He will finish. (Philippians 1:6) Promises that He can use anything in our life for a good purpose.(Romans 8:28) Promises that He sees the whole plan and it is for us to prosper. (Jeremiah 29:11) Promises that we will be blessed just by trusting Him. (Psalm 40:4, 84, 12, Proverbs 16:20, Jeremiah 17:7) Promises that He has our best interest at heart and wants us to live abundantly. (John 10:10) Promises of peace and direction and hope. (Romans 15:13, 16:20, I Corinthians 14:33, Philippians 4:7) And that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface! He has promised joy from mourning, and beauty from ashes; He has promised help and justice, and joy!

So what is it? Why do we have to fight with everything we have to trust Him? I think it is partly because we are fighting a Spiritual battle against a very determined devil who wants to "kill, steal and destroy" our testimony! (John 10:10) Unfortunately, Satan is well-versed in the ways of our sinful hearts; he knows exactly what recording to play in our mind to get us off track and focused on our selfish desires. The one I think he caters to when it comes to trusting God, is our innate desire to control things. You see when we trust people in the world, we still have a semblance of control. Sometimes it is just a perceived control, but we live in a society that makes it seem as if we have the right to control everything in our lives. We do trust someone we have never met to cook our meal, but we control what the food is going to be and how we want it cooked and I've seen people exert their desire for control to the point that I am embarrassed for them when the meal fell short of their expectations. I have seen people walk out of a hair salon in tears and refused to pay when the stylist did not manage to make them look like Jennifer Aniston when "clearly that was the picture of the hairstyle they presented." I know there are people who will threaten lawsuits for every manner of thing that they put their trust in and the reality fell short of expectation. That is the kind of world we live in.

God's reality is much different. He demands unconditional trust and the very idea that we want to hold back a little tiny niblet of control completely negates that trust. For Him it is all or nothing, no options, no
pre-ordering for desired results, no sending back the plate for another try, no fit throwing or foot stomping. If any of that happens on our part, then it is apparent that the trust was not a heart trust like He truly wants. You see, He is preparing a feast for you and you don't even get to pick out the appetizer. He is a pilot of a plane that you do not know the destination. You do know it will be good, and for your benefit and the benefit of the Kingdom of God. Sometimes it may not be the feast we thought we ordered, but if we are trusting Him, it will be the one we accept with the gratitude that He provided a feast. Sometimes it is not one that we find appetizing at all at first, but God uses it to teach and grow and stretch us to a place that by the time we get to the dessert round, we might even order another plate! There are even sometimes that I feel like I am eating someone else's plate, if you know what I mean. I have to fight the urge to whine about it not being fair. If only I had a heart for others more than for myself, I would gladly take that plate served to impact the heart of another. I am convicted many times over for my lack of love for the very ones Christ is leaving me here to reach. I only hope that as He works in my life and heart that I will become more and more like Him daily.

The only other reason I can think of that causes us to not trust the Lord, Creator of Heavens and Earth, is that we don't really believe He is. Ouch. In my opinion, if we believe the scripture to be the Holy, God-breathed word of truth, then trusting should be the natural next step. We will not put our trust into something we don't believe in. If I walked into my hair salon and there was a "stylist" dressed in a chef's smock and hat with a set of knives and kitchen shears on the counter, I am not sure I would believe she was a hairdresser and most likely would not allow her to touch my hair! If we do not believe the Word of God as truth, then trust would be a ridiculous expectation. Maybe it is just a matter of being in the Word more, but I think it is a heart condition. If you have never truly put your belief into the Savior for eternal life and all that entails, then trusting Him for everything else is just silly and missing the point!

Those who know Your name trust in You because You have not abandoned those who seek You, Yahweh.

John 3:15-18Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

15 so that everyone who believes in Him will[a] have eternal life.
16 “For God loved the world in this way:[b] He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.

"Your gratitude is nice, but what I want is your trust." will now be the resounding statement in my mind ever single time I thank God for something. Did I trust Him through this situation before the gratitude was placed in my heart for the outcome? Am I trusting Him 100%; no whining, wailing or whys? Do I trust Him unconditionally- without pre-ordering the outcome? If not, why not? In a world where trusting yourself and being in control is the primary theme, I challenge that unconditional trust in our Savior is the key to our fulfillment of His calling, the only way to grow Spiritually and a command to every child of God.

But I trust iYou, Lord; I say, “You are my God.”

Blessed more than I deserve,