There’s no breaking news here. My struggle with trust during tough times is well documented in past Grace & Such blogposts I’ve written. I often express dismay at how I see my trust in God is found lacking. With all my long, long, long experience in being a child of God, I would have expected something different in my trust place by now. But here I am, still struggling to trust God in those places of deep hurt, pain, and difficult circumstances.
Inevitably, I look at myself and wonder, “Why can’t I get this? What is wrong with me?”
Perhaps my trust struggle is also your struggle. I hope that my journey in this area will be helpful to you.
Because I’ve come to the realization it will always be so…
…and it might be a good thing.
Why good? I will not be able to see any increase of trust in my life as something I accomplished.
In the last few months, I’ve begun to realize that trust is not something I can put on or take off at will. Rather, trust is a gift from God. He gives it to me in whatever measure he believes is right for me, and he helps me to take the gift of trust and use it in my life.
While I believe trust is a gift, I don’t believe I possess the gift of trust/faith. My gifts tend to manifest in other areas. This is not an excuse in any way. Rather, I see my trust issue as my thorn in the flesh, my weakness, per se. For this reason, I can see my low trust tolerance as being a good thing as it causes, inevitably, more dependence on God. (See how He does that?)
However, none of us is called to stay exactly where we are no matter what our gifts are. We are to continue on our journey of faith, always moving in the direction of Christlikeness.
Now my change in this view of trust came about as a process.
First, there was a period of wondering “Where is God?” He went dark for a while in my life. And as much as I looked for traces of Him, He was silent.
Then I struggled with God as good. Not that I doubted that God was good, and He was good to other people, but in my life, I wondered why I was not seeing goodness manifested. My future felt bleak.
Finally, I remembered a teaching on the 23rd Psalm. It is considered by many as the perfect passage of scripture concerning trust in God. I remembered hearing the first verse quoted from the New Century Version, and it would not leave me: The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need.
I have needs, so I reacted to this version kinda negatively.
But something inside was causing me to realize I needed to really understand this Psalm. It seemed to hold a key to grasping my struggle with trust.
Hence, I began to memorize it, again. I would say it at night when I woke up and was not able to go back to sleep. I would say it when my fears would threaten to overwhelm me. I would say it when I needed reassurance that “All will be well. All will be well. And in all manner of things, all shall be well.”[i]
I noticed a change in my heart.
Finally, I started studying the book Life Without Lack, which is based on Psalm 23. This book holds nuggets that have helped me in the process of seeing my struggle with trust in the light of my relationship with God. This quote has been extremely helpful:
“Faith (trust), death to self, and agape love support our Psalm 23 life as a triangle of sufficiency. Each is a precious gift of God, who, in his graciousness, gives them to us and enables us to receive them in ever increasing abundance. He gives them to the willing, seeking heart through a process in which that willing and seeking is consistent, and even that is a gift.” [ii]
I realized my journey of seeking out understanding about trust was all part of a “willing, seeking heart.” While I cannot make myself trust, I can position myself to intentionally search for it, which, in turn, is also a gift from God.
Trust is a gift. Acting on trust is a gift. Seeking trust is a gift.
I see this verse in a new light:
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10 NIV
He does all the heavy lifting: Strengthen, help, uphold. All I can do is receive. There is no longer any guilt about my trust deficiency. My lack of trust leads me to God.
Do not be discouraged by the journeys you find yourself on. They may lead to interesting places.
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[i] Saying attributed to 14th century mystic, Julian of Norwich
[ii] Dallas Willard, Life without Lack, pg.257
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. NIV®. COPYRIGHT © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.