Monday, 25 June 2012
There is a story in the old testament where David's son Absalom leads a rebellion to overthrow David as King -- he has the people's hearts. Reading David's reaction to the whole thing really got me thinking about my trust in God. From the moment young David was anointed as future King of Israel, he had gone from defeating Goliath, to spending ten years on the run from king Saul, to spending a few years 'backslidden' with the Philistines, to finally becoming king. Now his kingdom is taken away from him, and he still trusts in the Lord.
I wonder if I would have the same reaction? What has been used to build this "trust" thing is part of my belief?
I think that, as believers, we like the idea that we trust in God, believe in Christ and trust in Him. Basic Christianity falls apart without belief, and belief itself means nothing without trust. So this idea that Christians have that we 'trust in Christ' is not simply an idea, it is part of the foundation of our belief. E. M. Bounds once wrote, "Trust is firm belief; it is faith in full bloom. Trust is a conscious act, a fact of which we are aware."
Unlike history, no one is threatening us death if we don't say the sinners prayer. There is nothing obligating us to "be believers;" we believe and we trust because we want to. Those two things should explain to an unbeliever why we are the way we are, why we struggle so much with the things we do and don't do. When you trust someone, you trust what they say, their advice carries weight, so our actions should reflect who we believe in and who we trust. So what happens when our 'trust foundations' are shaken?
So yes we believe, and the idea that we 'trust in God' is very romantic -- it's pure, genuine, and we hope that our 'trust' has a child like faith in it's very core. Yes all that sounds lovely and nice, especially when life is good. It's easy to believe when things work out. What happens when the Absalom in our lives begins to destroy all the examples of our trust in God? Everything falls apart in a second and we are left with doubt or trust? Are we so ashamed that others might see our doubt that we continue saying the 'right things', even if we don't believe in them?
The mistake many believers make is we plant our trust on His blessings, without knowing that our entire foundation of 'trust' is being built wrong. We are trusting a blessing and not the one who is blessing. David lost his throne. I can't really relate to do that, but I did just lose my apartment. In David's reaction to all this we see the true foundation of his trust in God; later in the story he would tell the people who fled with him that he was ready for whatever the Lord had for him, whatever seem good for the Lord was good for David.
How I wish that my reaction was parallel with David's -- a shadow, an echo. I wish I could say, "I'm ready, whatever seems good for the Lord is good for me." I do like that idea, and I wish my heart said that to my trials. The truth is my first reaction seems far from it, but once I calm down, I realize -- I'm still here, I still believe, and I trust that the storm will be a lesson. Even if doubt has many voices, I must be very clear to myself that it is God that I trust, not His blessings, nor my own confidence. God's silence or lack of blessings should not wave my trust in Him.
David said in Psalm 118:8 "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man." When you first look at that, it's easy to think that he means "don't trust other people." I like to believe that he is talking about himself. It is better to trust in the Lord than to trust in me.
I think when we come to the understanding that what is asked of us as believers is impossible to attain and that we at our best are still the farthest good, we will see that without 'belief' Christianity is left with only "rules". When we realize that our belief comes from an imperfect heart, and that this heart is trying to love the One who is perfect love, the impossible seems to get even bigger. It is only then will we start to see how Grace has been around us this whole time -- and that He loved us first, He does not love us back, He loves us first. I believe in that.
When has your faith, trust and belief in God been shaken? Do you feel you're prone to trusting in God's blessings rather than in Him? How can we begin to trust God even in the difficult times of our lives?