I am in a moment of trusting God, of how many seconds or years or decades it will last, I don’t know. Every day that I seek his promises or ask him to speak, I am encouraged. I started out desperately asking for the answers to my questions. Then I started to pray around all of the outcomes I personally deemed acceptable. God was patient with me. He never told me what I wanted to hear, he told me what I needed to hear.
Here’s what I’ve learned.
God wants us to lean on him daily, to go to His word day and night and seek his presence continually, (Ps. 1:2, 1 Chron. 16:11).
These past few months I’ve been through days and sometimes weeks where I needed to hear God’s promises minute by minute. I’ve felt so thirsty that a firehose fixed to my mouth would have done little more than keep me from drying out. A lie crept up in this struggle, telling me that once God spoke I should be satisfied. Believing him should be enough.
I must not be drinking in his promises correctly if I couldn’t get my fill, right? I thought maybe something was wrong with my uptake. Shouldn’t I trust God enough to let it be and take him at His word?
Trusting God isn’t a transaction, it’s a state of being.
He said I want you to depend on me daily. I want you to seek me continually.
It’s right there in His word! The Bible tells us to pray in all situations, (1 Thes. 5:17, Eph. 6:18, Luke 18:1, Phil. 4:6, Col. 4:2, 1 Tim. 2:1…).
“Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face continually.” Psalm 105:4
We were made to seek His presence continually. He will never tire of repeating himself because that’s part of who he is and the loving relationship he created us for. We need to hear his promises again, every day. He made us to depend on him. It’s a good thing.
*Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, but replace the word “love” with “God.”
His patience does not run out. Rather, he tells us to keep talking with him. Always.
Waiting on the world to change…
Once upon a time ago, I was 10 years old sitting in a rented vacation motorhome watching the second season of the Amazing Race while my family waited to check in to the airport so we could fly home from Alaska just days after 9/11. I made a promise in my journal that I would be on that show if it was still running when I was old enough. No matter what.
I waited for 11 years. I didn’t end up going on the Amazing Race after all, I did something bigger and better.
I had the privilege of traveling to 11 countries on 3 continents all over the world with 55 strangers (now family) who loved Jesus so we could serve in His name for a crazy life-changing 11 months.
It was worth the wait. More importantly, the waiting was essential to preparing me for those plans.
Sunday a random devotional popped into my email inbox. Guess what the topic was?
The main point was this, that God uses the waiting to prepare us for his plans for us.
It went straight to my heart when I read the line, “he wants us to trust him.”
Think about that. What place is a heart in when someone who loves us asks us to trust them?
They are offering their help, their confidence, their best. They are for you.
It’s clear if you read the Old Testament (go ahead and skip to the New Testament for even more proof) that God always keeps his promises. There are whole books on it.
“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,” Deuteronomy 7:9
When God asks us to trust him, we can be assured it’s because he is trustworthy.
Do you ever have those season where you feel like God is speaking directly to you through a particular verse, story, or passage? It’s been like that for me with the story of the Israelites.
God keeps telling me through other people, sermons, prayer, reading the Bible-even random places-how I’m like Israel in her different seasons.
Our promises are the same. I don’t understand it all, but when my wisdom and foresight isn’t deep I still know that this is significant.
He told me he was taking me the long way around.
Remember when the Israelites had to wander in the desert for 40 years after finally being set free from the hand of Pharaoh? That wasn’t just because God got tired and decided to stick his kids in time out for a while so he didn’t have to deal with their whining. It had purpose.
Part of that purpose was to prepare them for the promised land he was taking them too. They weren’t ready, according to his own standards (key).
So he took them the long way around.
“The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
Occasion after occasion I have found myself fighting within my heart to control an outcome or avoid an unfavorable one when God speaks this verse, telling me to be still.
He is fighting for me.
Imagine The Avengers; Thor with his hammer, Captain America with his shield, Iron Man fully suited up, Hulk-well, as Hulk. All of them. Throw in the Justice League too if your imagination can take it (Superman, the Flash..). All of them standing around you, fighting for you. This team, shielding and protecting you from the enemy.
Would you grab a plastic sword and anxiously swing it around just to be extra sure you’ll make it out of this battle okay?
No, because that’s ridiculous.
When you have Thor and Captain America defending you, you sit back with a milkshake and relish placing your confidence in such warriors. You know you are going to win. It might not be easy to watch, but you just know it.
God is bigger than Thor. He is stronger than Hulk. He is braver than Captain America. He is faster than the Flash. He is more bullet proof than Superman. He has better aim than Hawkeye and Arrow combined. Iron Man’s suit has nothing on him. He is even cooler than Vision. Yeah, I said it.
(I really hope you now have this awesome picture of God surrounded by angels that look like Thor with wings.)
How often do we trust like this? I trust you God, ellipses…
I’m waiting. I’m taking a chance on you. This is a risk. I really just want what you’ve got planned at the end of this.
I woke up this morning, got into my car, turned my heart to prayer and immediately God flipped the angle of my heart.
I wanted to pray things centered around myself and fixing this discomfort of waiting. Another day, more promises, I could do this. Refuel. That was the plan.
Instead, he gave me prayers of blessing for someone else.
It’s funny how becoming a blessing can minister to us in powerful ways.
The Holy Spirit filled my heart with thankfulness and praise.
Then I realized, the joy and peace that comes from simply trusting God, obeying Him, reading his word, being with him, was in and of itself the reward.
We read about crowns as a reward for faithfulness in the Bible (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
At times the thought of earning those crowns to throw at Jesus feet (because he deserves them all) has been the motivation and encouragement I needed to get through a moment of waiting.
A good thing, but not as it turns out, the cake.
This morning I finally get it.
Trusting God isn’t about what he has promised or the results of your waiting-it is about trusting God. The very state of being in God’s presence, trusting him, is worth it for the state of being in that moment of trusting Him.
Trusting Him is worth trusting him because he is so good, so loving, that Himself is worth it. He is the prize for our trust.
Trusting him means giving him your whole heart, and getting all of him.
He continues to make you bigger on the inside so you can receive more and more of his fullness. Trusting him is about knowing him. It’s about relationship. It’s not about the future, it’s about the two of you. The condition of your soul. What you were made for.
The rest is frosting.
I want to challenge you with this question; is trusting God enough for you?
This should be our ultimate aim. Not the answer to our questions (and believe me, I have plenty of them too…limitless Leah they probably call me in heaven), not the future we imagine, nor the dreams we asked for. Our worries gone. Our troubles ceased. The good things that He has planned for us. Those are real-but they are not the aim.
The questions may never be answered. Keep asking anyway. Remember to listen for what God is actually saying, not just the answers to your questions. Trust is meant to bring us closer to him and to glorify him. Not to get you what you think you want or need.
What you need is to trust Him.
Trusting Him is the greatest gift.