A few years ago crutches seemingly became a part of my body as I managed to damage the ligaments on both my knees simultaneously. One of the hardest parts of this drama was football on Wednesday nights. Every Wednesday I religiously hobbled up to watch my beloved football team play as we battled for the prize of footballing glory, something I’d risked my limbs for every Wednesday previously. Yet as the football unfolded I felt powerless as I watched our team scrape to a win or drop points with a silly draw to the bottom placed team. Essentially I could do nothing to help the cause and I had to put my trust in my team mates as they kept the promotion dream alive. Not having an influence was so hard especially when I trust myself to do a job.
Fundamentally I hate being out of control. I want to be able to influence the way my life goes in every area, whether it be my future, a relationship, a friendship or what some people may say an unimportant football match. Most of the time I sit pretty easily as I gently guide the way my life goes, putting in effort when effort is required and remaining confident in my own character and abilities when I want to take my life somewhere else. As I so often seem to mention in my blogs it’s when problems arise that I start to struggle and the once confident David Smith starts to flounder amongst the unease life sometimes brings. It’s when the things in life I have control over start to slip from my grasp that I become uneasy and worry becomes a dominant force in my life. Like a good Christian I tend to turn to God in these times of difficulty and pray that he would be close. It was as I stood back in a recent storm though that I realised a rather disturbing truth.
I don’t trust God.
I don’t trust God? Maybe I’m over exaggerating or being hard on myself….Yet every time I pray in these situations I pray essentially the same thing, perhaps in a different way but still the same thing….
God give me back control of my life.
Because God I rather like it when I’m in control.
Though I love God and know he is the saviour of the world, the mighty warrior for his people and the maker of all I’d still much prefer it if I was in control of my life and it’s direction because I can see the future or at least determine where it goes. Almost sub-consciously I live life through my Christian lens and when I come off the rails I ask God to put me back on them in the direction I want them to go. It seems a good thing to do, a lot of people probably don’t pray when the train of life falls of the rails. Yet Jesus calls us to follow him not the other way around. When he called his disciples he didn’t say “hey guys, do you mind If I follow you about for a bit and if you get into a spot of bother don’t worry I’m here!” He asked them to follow him. They must have had to have so much trust to stop and leave everything they had to follow this crazy guy.
When I stop and think about it my thought process seems stupid. As a Christian and someone who genuinely believes that God is real and alive I know that I should trust him. I mean he is God and I know he is mighty. I know he is on my side. I know he loves me. Yet when life gets hard I wish I was back in control because I know where I’m going and I discover that deep down its as if I don’t trust God; in the confusion and chaos life throws at me I just wish I was back in the driving seat even though deep down I know that the best place for me to be is in the arms of God as he lights up my path with a lamp. How I wish that lamp was a beacon illuminating my whole life. I’m scared of not knowing what the future holds.
Yet God seems to only lead us on just that one step further, calling us to trust and love him. The story of Jericho comes to mind as I think about it. We all know the outcome. God shines through, knocks down the walls and the Israelites progress. We can all go home happy knowing God is our super sub. But I wonder what it must have been like for a foot soldier in Joshua’s army, here I stand with weapons in hand and God seems to be telling us to walk around the walls of this city in silence and then shout lots. It would be like a football team who needed to win a match 4-0 starting the game with 10 defenders and a goalkeeper. It’s absurd. As a good Christian I read it and think well you just need to trust God right? He’s all powerful so why doubt? Yet when I find myself in a Jericho situation of my own I quickly turn to my own strength and long to be in control. How often do I say to others trust God in the times of hopelessness yet crumble in my own distress and doubt? Too often.
To step into Gods strength is to become completely vulnerable and to surrender everything I have. My dreams, my failures, my loved ones, my belongings, my status, my insecurities, my longings and my desires. To say God have your way. It sounds like the hardest thing to do because I have so much to lose. I love my family, my girlfriend, my dreams, my friends, my belongings, my iPad, my safety and comfort. Why would I want to put them into the trust of someone else when they could take them away?
And then I look at who we are putting our trust in? Is this not the God of all, the God of power and might. The God who has the power to give and take away. Isn’t this the God so rich in love that he allowed his son to die a criminals death in order that we could be in a relationship with him despite our unfaithfulness and unreliability? Our father who says how more abundant his gifts are to his children than any other fathers gifts. This is the God who longs for us to put our trust in him. Yet when push comes to shove I can’t quite trust him. I know it just I don’t go the whole way and sit in my safe Christian bubble hoping that me and God remain friends and that when I get into trouble he’ll put me back in control even though my life tells me that when I put God in control he is secure. So many times I’ve had to put my trust in God and not once in hindsight as he let me down. Never once has he left me on my own. Yet still I struggle to trust?
God help me to trust you. Because when we give our all to God we are giving our lives to the one who is Good. Sometimes I really believe the problems I go through in life is God longing for me to my trust in him, longing for my attention and love. God longed to give the Israelites the promised land yet they kept turning to idols. I so often think why when you’ve got God yet do exactly the same today turning to money, status, female attention, success, power, drink and short term pleasure to satisfy life when the very giver of life wants me to see it out to the full. I go against my beliefs and values just so people will accept me. I hurt others in the attempt to be in control of my securities. Yet God just keeps knocking on the door of my heart longing for me to allow him to love me for who I really am. I know I should trust God and I need him to help me to do it. I forget that his ways are greater, more abundant than any. So often I think of the Christian life as a list of don’t s when it really is God freeing us from the chains of the world to live life in fullness, goodness and abundance. I only need to look at my own life and see the blessings God has given me.
Friends I know deep down I don’t quite trust God but I know I want to. Not because I should but because from experience it is the best and most amazing place to be and I pray this prayer out of complete sincerity.
God I know you are good. You are powerful and you long to be in relationship with us, giving us good gifts and seeing us live life in complete fullness. Yet so often I see the future and the storms, the unknown and my fears and I long to be in control despite knowing you want the very best for us and that your kingdom far outweighs anything this world could offer us. Help me to trust you even if that means challenging my control so that you would be king of my life. Help me to trust and love you with all my heart.
I end with some verses on trust I found on the Internet, not to be cheesy but as an encouragement for us to put our trust in God.
Also sorry to all those football haters….. I genuinely see life through the lens of football hence all the football analogies. I hope this encourages you that you are not alone and inspires us to live for God knowing he is rich in power and love.
30 The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” 32 In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, 33 who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.
2 Samuel 7:28
28 O Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.
10 Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; 2 in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. 3 No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.
14 But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”
3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Psalm 37:5-6(#10 of 40 Bible Verses About Trust and Trusting)
5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
4 Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.
8 But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.
3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?
8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah
12 O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.
2 Guard my life, for I am devoted to you. You are my God; save your servant who trusts in you.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.
7 He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
13 A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.
28 Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
25 A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.
26 He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.
22 Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?
2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”
4 Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
10 Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.
8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.
13 If I tell the righteous man that he will surely live, but then he trusts in his righteousness and does evil, none of the righteous things he has done will be remembered; he will die for the evil he has done.
23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
33 As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 13:6-7
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Biblegateway.com; New International Version