Trusting God is a Process
Trusting God is a process. He is patient and loving with us throughout our questioning and our pain. I’m just now, really starting to understand this. For too long, I’ve been both impatient with myself and with others when it comes to getting over pain. I pray that God will continue to work in my heart, to give me a heart of compassion, that kind that he shows towards us.
In looking to Jesus, as an example of compassion, I think of Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing what was coming, his arrest and crucifixion sweating drops of blood, suffering intense agony, which he could have made go away with only a word. He didn’t deny his pain though, he cried out to his Father,
“My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42)
In the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead, we see that Jesus cried, even though he knew that he was about to heal his friend. He entered into the pain of those around him. He didn’t deny it.
I’ve been learning about the freedom that God gives us to walk through the process of grief. I’ve been learning that God doesn’t want us to be in denial or to push away pain, that it’s a process that he sets forth, because it can be through the process that he redeems that pain. One of the ways that I’ve been learning this is through what I’ve been reading in the scriptures, in Job and Psalms.
Over the past year, I’ve been working my way through the Bible in a way that I’ve never done before. I’m not skipping anything. I decided to take seriously, the verse that says,
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16
I used to skip, or lightly skim the book of Job. I didn’t understand this story about a righteous man who loves God, but for whom God then allows Satan to take away everything and make him miserable. God blesses him even more in the end, and I liked that part, so I would just skip to the end. The middle of the book though...I just thought it was depressing. This time I read it, and I learned something. In the middle of the pain that Job was experiencing, I saw his “friends” telling him he must have done something wrong, that God was punishing him. I read where God told those friends, that they were wrong, and it was there, that I saw my own wrong thinking.
I guess, deep down, I have been like Job’s friends, thinking that bad things happened to bad people, and good things happened to good people. That’s not the message of the gospel though. The message of the gospel is grace, not karma. The story of Job is a good illustration of this. Job was not being punished because he did anything wrong. His story of pain was being used for a greater purpose, for God's glory.
After I read Job, I went on to Psalms. Psalms was another book that I didn’t really choose to read in the past, or I would only pick out the happy psalms. Once again, like in Job, there is a lot of what I would call complaining, but really, it’s crying out to God- and God is okay with it. It was me who had a problem with the process of pain, not God. I have a new appreciation for Psalms.
I went to a seminar recently, and the speaker, Jason Kovacs, said,
“The Psalms are an invitation to live in reality- and reality is that we’re broken.”
Those words have stayed with me. If we call on the name of Jesus, we are saved, but that does not mean that we aren’t still in the process of being saved. Everything will not be as it should be until Jesus returns. We still live in a broken world. We can trust that Jesus will fulfill all his promises. He will return, (John 14:1-3) He will heal this broken world, and He will be glorified. In the meantime, we can rest in the promise that God has sent his Holy Spirit to help us. God has not left us alone, He is with us.
The book I’ve been writing about trusting God is coming to the end of it’s first stage, in which I’ve been sharing my first draft on this blog. Through the process of writing, I’ve learned much. I hope and pray, if you’ve been following along, you have too. The truth is that I can trust God in everything, because he is sovereign, loving, and wise. That truth has moved deeper into my heart. Coming to a place where I can say that has been a process, one that’s ongoing, and God has been patient with me. He can take my questions and my complaints. He doesn’t want me to deny my reality, and he doesn’t want that for you either. So if you’re not yet at a place where you can say that you trust God with all your heart, please, let me encourage you to continue searching for him and ask the Holy Spirit to do the work in your heart that is needed. He will hear you and you will find Him.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8