Why do we have so much trouble trusting God? I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we have all, at some point, been let down by someone we love and who was supposed to love us back, whether they ever made that promise or not. Personal experience makes it difficult to imagine the perfect love of God, so we approach our relationship with Him much as we approach other relationships, with hesitation, doubts, and our defenses up.
Most of us tend to gauge God’s love for us by our blessings. When our health is good, money is coming in, and our loved ones are safe, we are sure of God’s love for us. We rest. We trust.We feel close to Him.
But when our health wanes, money problems come, or our loved ones suffer, we are shaken. Hurt, disillusioned, and fearful, we pull back much as we would if a friend or mate had let us down. Assuming the stance of a martyr, we continue on, but with caution.Our joy gone and our egos wounded, our obedience becomes an act of duty rather than a love gift.
Besides the fact that this behavior encourages similar behavior in other believers, there are two major problems with this kind of self-righteous response to the trials that we face.
First, it robs God of the glory He deserves. It makes us look and feel like the hero when nothing could be farther from the Truth.Though we are sinful by nature and deserve nothing from God, the Father gave us everything in Jesus, making it possible for us to be reconciled to Him and share in the inheritance of His Son.In return, God deserves anything He asks of us. Anything.To guard our pain as if God has been cruel and lick our wounds as if He is unwilling to heal and sustain is to suggest otherwise.
Second, it makes God out to be a liar when He never actually promised to do what we were expecting of Him.If He had promised, He would have followed through (Romans 9:6).
Brothers and sisters, we must be extremely careful when reading Scripture not to claim promises intended for others as our own. For instance, the fact that God promised and gave Abraham a son doesn’t mean that everyone who wants a son will get one. The fact that God preserved David’s life in the wilderness does not mean that he will spare your life if your death better serves the purpose of His will.
When we claim promises not intended for us, we set ourselves up for hurt, disappointment, and confusion and make vulnerable our own faith. Such action on our part does not obligate God any more than Lois Lane’s putting herself in danger obligates Superman.
The Holy Spirit speaks to us through Scripture. We know that.Sometimes, He does deliver specific, personal messages to us through God’s promise to another individual, but such revelations must be received with careful discernment and awareness of our own emotional state, personal desires, and tendency to hear what we want to hear. Continued prayer and Bible study are the only way to confirm an actual word from God.
The Bible does contain some promises that are for all followers of Christ, however. Here are just a few.
· In this life, you will face trials of many kinds (James 1:2).
· God’s grace and power will sustain you (2 Corinthians 12:9).
· God will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19).
· God will work everything together for your good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
· When you draw near to God, He will draw near to you (James 4:8).
· If you confess your sin, He will forgive it (1 John 1:9).
· God will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
If you have given your heart to Jesus, you can cling to these promises without reservation in all circumstances, but don’t ever put words in God’s mouth and don’t expect Him to do things the way you would. Remember, He sees the big picture. We don’t.
Believe me, I know it’s difficult to trust when loved ones that you can see, hear, and touch let you down on a regular basis, but the Father loves you perfectly. He is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9), and you can trust Him.