(Disclaimer: I am by no means a biblical scholar, nor am I trying to set myself up as an expert on this matter. I am not claiming that I am right or that these are words anyone should take as inspired or claim as part of their own faith. I am merely capturing my own wrestling with this subject. Philippians 2:12 states, "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling." This is part of my attempt to do that.)
My Bible is stuffed full of notes. When I read something and want to remember a thought about it, I usually just write it right there in the margin, with a little arrow pointing to the verse to which the note refers. When I'm listening to someone speak, usually in church, and something stands out to me, I make notes on the back of the bulletin or some other piece of paper and stick it in the page. I got my current Bible in 1996. It contains a lot of notes.
Sunday night I was looking for my notes from that morning, but instead found my notes from a sermon from 1999. I'm not even sure from which church it was because it was only a bulletin insert and not the whole thing, but maybe Ovid or Eastside or Northside Church of God. (I went to a Church of God school. There are a lot of Churches of God in the surrounding areas and I attended several during my years there). The notes were on a pre-printed form with fill-in-the-blank bullet points. The sermon was from Joshua 3 and the topic was Faith. One of the bullet points read "Trust is the precursor to Faith." and the thought occurred to me that I really don't trust in God. I believe in him and I have faith, but I don't think I really trust God.
So then I started thinking about if I could have faith without trust. I think it is possible, but not sustainable. From my experience, you can have faith in someone's ability to do something, but not trust that they will do it. I believe that God has the ability to do miraculous things, to heal the sick, and to provide, but I don't really trust that he is going to do that for me. I prefer to try to be cautious, to take good care of myself, and to maintain a good job, so that I won't be in a position of needing to rely on anyone. Not that this will prevent something bad from happening, but I feel it gives me a slightly better chance of preventing it. There is anything wrong with being careful, with taking good care of myself, or with having a good job. I think these things are wise and responsible, especially since I have a family. But I think in allowing myself to be so self-reliant, I've treated God like a casual acquaintance.
It is foolish to trust everyone, especially those you don't know. I'm the lady who wears her purse in the supermarket or at least waits till I have stuff in my cart so that I can put my purse way in the back of the cart, under the seat part, with stuff on top of it so that someone would really have to dig and make a scene to steal it. When I'm driving, I never assume that other drivers are going to do things they should do, like using their turn signal to change lanes or even check to see if you are driving next to them before changing lanes. I HATE driving in the center lane. I just don't trust other people. Many are dishonest or careless or worse.
But in relationships, you need to learn to trust. I need to trust that Ryan is going to be faithful and a good husband. I need to trust that he will take care of our kids while I'm at work. If I did not trust him, it would destroy our relationship. I have faith in his ability to do these things and I trust that he will. And Ryan is only human.
In my relationship with God, I think I've always had faith in his ability to do the things he says he will do. I have seen God do some pretty amazing things, but I have also seen times where people trusted him to do something that he didn't do. I think I have told myself "Just because God can do something, doesn't mean he will and I just have to accept that." And then that thinking became, "I don't have to trust that God will do those things because if I do and he doesn't then I won't know what to do. Better to just try to rely on myself for the things I can and then if God wants to step in and do something great, that will be an added bonus." It's weird to admit I've been thinking that unaware, but it's not helpful to pretend it isn't true.
I'm not entirely sure of where this leaves me. I've been researching and praying and thinking about this all week. What I have so far is that trust is a choice. I have to make a decision that I will trust God, and that he will do the things he said. Most of the trust verses I've found in the Bible say things like "Trust God and this is what he will do." or "Because I trusted God, this is what he did." (FYI, none of these things say if you trust God he will make you rich or never sick or not have a bad day or make your life perfect). Here is one of the verses:
"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." - Romans 15:13
That is what I want. I want to be able to trust God and to be hopeful, despite that I know things aren't always going to work out the way I would like. To have joy and peace, and to not fear. I need to choose to trust and not rely so much on myself. I'm not there yet, but it's good to know the goal. This is getting to be a very lengthy post, so I'll stop now. I know I have more on this and I've already started the next 'trust post,' so..... more on trust to come.
The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. - Nahum 1:7