If you asked this question of most Christians, few would hesitate in giving their answer. "I trust in God, of course!" We hear messages about this, we read about this in the Word of God and we even will sing songs about trusting God in all things. Yep, a Christian is supposed to trust God and so we do... or uh... do we?
It is said that talk is cheap and it is. It is one thing to talk about trusting God to care for your needs when you have a good job, all the bills are paid and you are even tucking away money for a rainy day. You say you are trusting in God and you might be but on the other hand, perhaps in reality you are trusting in yourself. This displaced trust is generally very subtle but it is still misplaced.
The only way to tell if you are truly trusting in God is to be stripped of your safety nets. That isn't pretty and it usually involves some pain and leaves you feeling a bit raw initially.
Over the past five years, God has been systematically stripping away my safety nets. At times I have even felt a teeny bit like Job. Not a lot of course but just a bit.
First, my health was stripped away. The body that had served me well was suddenly fighting for survival on an ongoing basis. I have survived but it was not without some permanent scars both physically and mentally. Then it was the loss of my career. With that came some unbelievable financial challenges which required a substantial shortfall of more than $1,000.00 a month to be filled in every month, not to mention the two year long battle which involved long-term disability benefits both private and public.
Then when we felt like we were just about to crawl out of "the pit", my husband lost his job of more than 27 years and we found ourselves reeling under the impact once again. Where was God in all of this? Had we gotten something messed up or did He just not care about us anymore?
This is where the rubber meets the road. Is all your talk about faith genuine or were you just parroting pretty words? You can be certain that our words will be put to the test eventually. Will we past the test?
In my mind, I have no other choice, no other option. Either I trust God or I don't. Either I believe what His Word says or I don't so... I turned to God and His Word.
As I look back upon my life, I cannot help but notice that God has always been present and He has always been faithful. He has never abandoned me and He has always lovingly cared for me.
I open up the "box of photographs" tucked away in the corner of my mind and take them out one by one. They tell a story. They tell a story of God's redeeming power and His love. I reflect on the times I have cried in God's arms and He comforted me. I reflect upon the times He has healed me and healed other family members. I recall the time some money mysteriously showed up in my bank account and after several heated discussions with bank officials they demanded that I must have forgotten I deposited it and that the money was mine. Enjoy. Hmm... I would have remembered making that deposit.
I remembered the times when food has been multiplied, vehicles ran although the tank should have been empty about 200 miles ago, unexpected jobs came up and delinquent customers suddenly remembered that they really should pay for services rendered and did so... at just the right moment.
I add some new photographs to the box which have been taken since my husband lost his job two weeks ago. These are pictures of dear friends who have come to our aid with financial gifts, having the money to pay for COBRA in January because someone decided to pay us for services now rather than six months or a year later and receiving some unexpected back pay.
There are photographs of messages of support and prayers from friends and associates. There are pictures of people who previously said "no" suddenly saying "yes".
If I were walking alone, the path I am treading on would be dark and frightening but I am not alone... and I never will be. He is carrying me.
Have you ever heard Randy Stonehill's song "Trouble".
It's amazingly encouraging and comforting.
Your joy is real joy when it has little or nothing to do with physical and/or financial security.
Part of the issue, for many of us, will be to stop our heads from spinning when we fly off a cliff (fiscal or otherwise).
We became very used to feeling immortal and untouchable - like the "good times" would just last forever with zero interruptions.
Our hearts lie like dogs (My dog would never tell the truth)
Folks I know are prepared to live like Mexicans. In fact, they pretty much already are. Living communally helps pound the self out of us. And when hard times come, the LAST thing we need is to battling with a raging self life.
That isn't the whole thing. I LIKE living like a Mexican. (I really, really like frijoles)
But what about when my health collapses? What then?
Well, if I get the early ticket out, there's some real appeal in that for me.
But I have a family.
So there's no escaping the simple fact - as we toughen up and do whatever else we need to do - JUST LEARN TO TRUST IN GOD.
I'm going to need a lot of GRACE for THAT one!
Thank you dear, blessed sister!
And my you and yours have a fantastic experience of REAL JOY!
In Christ the solid rock we stand
All other ground is sinking sand.
There are and have been times when I am barely hanging on by my fingernails. There are times when I feel myself slipping into the pit of despair, but I cling to He who saved me. To he who continues to Save me.
K you have said and said well [quote]I have no other choice, no other option. Either I trust God or I don't. Either I believe what His Word says or I don't so...[/quote] Honestly.. that says it all.
The "Joy To The World" comment was precious.
I must admit
I can't even IMAGINE.
But it sounds incredibly beautiful.
Your blog so touched me. My family has lost a lot - cars, possessions, a house, jobs, etc. - but I really do believe that all is in the will of God. I have learned that the things I thought I could not live without, I really could do without, thanks be to God. However, I am aware that our suffering is still nothing compared to what other's have gone through. We have always had food, a roof over our heads, and medicine for our children. Some people might look at our little house and think we have not much, but, believe me, we have God. That mansion in Heaven will surely have good plumbing! Lol!