“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9 (NIV)
As I was giving our three-year-old a bath, I couldn’t help but think about trust. It was time to wash his hair and I was thinking about how easy this part of the process had become. Around age two, when his vocabulary was becoming more advanced, washing his hair had become a bit of a struggle. It took several months of consistent reassurance and establishing a routine to make getting his hair wet a fun experience.
I had to establish a level of trust with him. Trust I wouldn’t let too much water get in his eyes, trust I would wipe the water away that did trickle down his face, trust he wasn’t going to drown when leaning back in the water, etc. By repeatedly assuring him he was safe and I wouldn’t let him get hurt, he was able to relax. Only then could he truly enjoy his bath with fun songs, games, or just generally be silly because the fear had been completely eliminated and the trust firmly in place.
Isn’t that how it is with other relationships we have? We don’t automatically trust someone when we go out with them on a first date. It takes weeks, sometimes years of positive experiences to truly have a “best friend” you can trust with your secrets, passions, and children. Even in a work environment, it takes time to establish a trust relationship with co-workers and with your superiors. What about church? Some people come from backgrounds where trust with any religious affiliation has been broken or damaged, so to set foot in a church again (even if it’s a completely different location, state, or denomination), it takes a certain amount of trust to press forward through the fear.
Just as it takes time to establish a relationship with other people, it takes time to establish a level of trust with God. The way to learn to trust God is very similar to trusting humans. We need to spend time with Him, reading the Bible and finding out what He thinks about certain situations. We need to spend time in prayer, talking to Him about our feelings as well as sitting quietly and allowing Him to speak to our hearts. We need to make time in our lives to get to know God, and ask Him for help. Then we need to trust while we wait and see how He’ll deliver.
It’s a given fact people make mistakes and they will, despite their best intentions, let us down at some point. It will happen. Sadly, some people lump God into that category and believe when bad things happen to us in life, God is to blame. They draw the false conclusion He can’t be trusted either. However, God is a God of love and even though He’s a just God and can’t allow evil to prevail (wrongs will be righted), He doesn’t sit up on His throne and randomly make some people’s lives miserable while allowing others to seemingly sail through life unaffected by trauma. I can’t answer why some people seem to suffer continuously on Earth while others seem to barely struggle at all. But, I do know God isn’t up in Heaven with a golden ceptor, randomly waving it around depending on His mood. God doesn’t show favoritism and is so filled with compassion and love for all humanity, the Bible says He loves us all the same. In Psalm 56:8, we are told that God, “… (keeps) track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book. (The Message).
The above doesn’t describe Someone who rejoices when we suffer, inflicts suffering on us, or is Someone untrustworthy. No, the above verse describes Someone who loves us so much that when we’re hurting, He collects our tears in a bottle and records our every heartache.
Trust comes more easily for some but can be a real struggle for others. I happen to be in the latter category. I have trust issues I’ve been working on for years. I didn’t trust my husband easily when we first started dating, and sadly learned that I didn’t automatically trust God either when my world turned upside down. I tried my husband’s patience countless times when we were dating and then after we got married when my “distrust default button” would rear its ugly head. Thankfully, God has even more patience with me than my ever-patient husband when I automatically go to my default button with Him.
From personal experience, I know when I turn to God when I’m hurting or devastated from something tragic in this world, He will comfort me. Whether through a friend, family member, devotional, piece of Scripture, or something else I know is His personal message meant just for me at that particular time. The more I practice trusting, the more God proves I can depend on Him, and the faster and faster I turn to trusting God when bad things happen instead of running away from Him, shutting down, or worst yet, getting angry He allowed something bad to happen to me.
I’m also slowly learning that even when bad things happen (and they will as long as I live on this Earth), if I’m quick to praise Him despite the circumstances (not necessarily for the circumstances), the quicker I’m able to see the good that can come out of an otherwise bad situation. God inevitably will always get the glory, and because of that, we can trust Him with the final outcome, even if the circumstances in between are less than ideal.
Copyright: 2013 Cheri Swalwell
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