I don’t have all the answers, but my initial thought is that appropriate trust in God hinges on having a proper understanding the following three things:
- Who God is
- What God wants
- What the meaning of life is
Who God is:
He’s not a wish-granting genie. He’s not a concierge. He’s not a living magic wand for us to wield to change the world according to our liking. He’s our heavenly Father, and he is perfect and all-knowing — in other words, his ideas are better than ours, and he knows what’s best for us more than we do. We can get way off track of we start to forget this.
What God wants:
I’ve heard many amazing stories of divine providence at work in people’s lives, and one common thread is that people who experience a lot of this crazy miraculous stuff live their lives according to what God wants, not what they want. I wrote about this more here, but these people spend a lot of time asking: “Lord, what do you want me to pray for?”
So, to use the example of the cake for the Bible study tea, I do believe that that was God at work, but I don’t believe that the cake appeared because the missionaries were in the mood for something sweet. Each day they spent hours in prayer seeking the Lord’s guidance. The idea to host the event didn’t come from their personal whims, but rather was an idea the Holy Spirit gave them in prayer — thus it’s no surprise that all the details just so happened to work out.
What the meaning of life is:
I think this is where it’s easiest for us Americans to go wrong, and where many “health and wealth gospel” proponent have gone wrong. Surrounded by incomparable wealth, luxury and access to medical care, it’s easy to start to think of our lives here on earth as our eternal destinations. The natural human inclination is to make the overarching goal of our lives to have the longest, healthiest, most comfortable life here on earth as possible. But that’s not how the saints have seen it, and it’s not how God sees it. Not that God wants us to suffer — suffering and death wasn’t even part of the world he originally planned for us — but, in a heaven-centered worldview, suffering is not the worst evil. Sin is.
And that’s another thing I’ve noticed about people who seem to have radical but healthy trust in God: they accept this. They trust that God will pave the way for them to get themselves and others on a path to heaven, and know that sometimes it will involve sending cake for a tea party…and other times it might involve suffering, or even an early death. But when they compare that prospect to an eternity of ecstatic peace, it doesn’t seem like such a bad proposition.
Trust in God
March 31, 2011 by joyfulpapist