People say ‘Trust God”. God says ‘trust me’. I even urge you to ‘trust God’. It’s a nice idea – giving a higher, almighty and loving creator your concerns so you can just peacefully go on with your day, knowing he’s got your back. Although for two simple and beneficial words of advice, they can be so very difficult to apply consistently.
Earlier in the week Reis and I went on a bush walk/trail run (remember the picture of me on instagram?). As we walked and discussed plans for the next year I said
‘I wish this sick feeling of worry would leave me – surely God will hold true to his promise for peace if I trust him? I am trying, I really am. Perhaps I’m trying to fix things myself too much. Wanting things in my time, not his. Turning to my devices for help, not Him. But why does God make it so hard to find this peace he speaks of? Is it him or is it me? What does it mean to really ‘trust God’?’
The can of worms was opened. At least a tough topic took our minds off the pain of the run.
“We Live In A Loud World”
Have you noticed everyone becomes an expert when you tell them your problems with your partner, friends, parents or kids? I also can’t think of any problem that doesn’t have some sort of monetary ‘solution’ to fixing (or at easing) your burden. We’re fix-it people, living in a moneymaking society aided by technological, personal-space invading means (like facebook, backend’s of buses, TV ads, etc) that ensure we are constantly surrounded by advertising for goods or services that will fix our problems. One of the detriments to this opinionated, interconnected and highly advertorial society is that we are conditioned to turn to our own means to solve our problem – rather than immediately trusting God.
“God Speaks, but his spirit is a gentleman” (John 10:27-28)
A gentleman cannot be heard amongst the shouts of a loud crowd. That means step one to finding that peace is to tune in. Just like Samuel, we need to recognize that God is always speaking, the question is are we listening? (1 Sam 3:8-9). Give the gentleman your listening ear. This is done by quiet time in prayer and focusing on his Word (the Bible – our blueprint to life).
“This Gentleman wants to be your friend”
Yes, you read it right. God doesn’t just want to be some distant figure that you pray to before an annual review when you’ve spent the year at work on Facebook, but still want a pay rise.
How do I know he wants to be friends? He created us in his image which is one of community and friendship. This is why we love friendship! God confirmed his desire for friendship with us by Jesus coming, taking on flesh, dying, absorbing the wrath reserved for us and rising again to overcome the sin that prevented us from being in God’s presence. As John 15:13 says – ‘No one shows greater love than when he lays down his life for his friends.’ God has displayed you the ultimate act of love.
Friendship is a two way street.
This is where we choose our response. No one likes the friend that always takes time, energy and resources but fails to offer the same back. Luckily for us, God’s our Father and like most parents he can put up with some ‘parasiting’ – that is, taking the blessings or expecting them without thanks, only a cry of frustration when the goods stop flowing your way. But think of the parent whose child says thank you and looks for ways to please their parent. Not for their parents acceptance but from their parent’s acceptance. This acceptance allows the child to respond in a way that pleases their parent. This in turn deepens the relationship between parent and child. It’s the same with God. You can have a friendship with God once you accept Jesus, but the depth and fruits of that friendship are affected by our efforts.
Deep friendships and trust take time to grow.
You’d probably agree that after just meeting someone you wouldn’t immediately leave your wallet with them, or tell them your deepest secrets. You like to know you can trust them before you do that, right? Whilst God is completely trustworthy, we are conditioned to live in a broken world marred by the effects of people living in ways that displease God and often hurt us. So due to our learned (and sometimes necessary) defensive mechanisms, we take time to REALLY trust God and consequentially find his peace.
“Is there Rest In the battle?”
Sometimes it feels like we are constantly fighting for peace. Yet there’s a truth I want you to hear: It’s no battle! Christ completed the battle on the cross and God gifts you a spirit of peace when you accept him – you’ve got it baby. Stop fighting. Seek to establish yourself in the peace you’ve received.
“The Art of Asking”
Whilst we have been given this peace, we still need to seek it and ask God for it regularly. This is so you don’t fall back into your old habits of listening to the noisy world I spoke of earlier (read more about this in this post about the importance of ‘renewing your mind’). Trust with God will build and as you reflect on what he’s guided you through, you’ll trust him with even bigger things. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and staff, they comfort me” [Psalm 23:4]. Soon you will be able to hear that gentleman and find his peace in your friendship.
If you were on our bushwalk – how would you have contributed to this discussion? Let’s work out life’s big questions together – I want to hear YOUR thoughts.