Thursday, January 14, 2010

I am Thankful for Grace to Trust God

When I returned to Lee after Christmas break in early 1973 the desire to know what God wanted me to do with my life intensified. I was doing what I knew to do and I still did not know what He wanted me to do (vocationally). I couldn’t escape a hunger for clarity. In early February I went on a week-long fast. I agonized throughout the week. Again in the prayer room on a Saturday night I wrestled with God specifically about whether I was called to preach. As always before, he didn’t answer. Finally, I exclaimed, “Father I don’t know if You want me to preach, but I am going to trust you to make it clear when You are ready if that is your desire for my life. Until then I am going to be the best layman I can be.” A huge burden lifted off me. For the next few days I felt like I was walking on air.

In that event I resolved to trust God to be God in my life. He did not have to reveal anything to me. He did not have to answer my questions about my future. He did not have to tell me His plans for my life. I could trust Him to tell me what I needed to know when I needed to know it. I surrendered my right to know, the ultimate surrender of control. It is one thing to trust God to keep His promises; it is another thing to trust God when He makes no promises and offers no assurances except what is written in the Word. Trust is sometimes following God when He refuses to disclose the destination or even mode of transportation.

Trusting God is seldom euphoric. Often it must be done in a state of numbness or even despair. Sometimes to trust is to die to yourself, not just die to your hopes and dreams, but to your very self. There have been occasions when I chose to trust God because it seemed the only sane option; trust God and die or don’t trust God and die. Given who He has revealed himself to be in my life, I chose to die trusting God. [I am of course referring to psychological/emotional death and not physical death.] I had to trust God more than I trust myself to know what is best, even what is real. It is only when we die to our right to know that we can accept the full gift of faith. In those times we come to know more fully that He is the vine and we are the branches. His life flows through us unencumbered when we have died to our rights, our very selves.

I am thankful for the grace to trust God. Such trust is indeed a gift, an expression of His love and faithfulness even when we cannot feel His presence.

Cleveland, Tennessee
January 14, 2010


Phil Hoover, Chicago said...

This is so rich, so powerful, and so profound that I intend to share it with a WHOLE BUNCH of people.

It is marvelous, and convicting in my own life.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Phil. This is an amazing essay. It calls us to "give up the right to know" which is often hard to do!

Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying your pieces on thankfulness. Phil said it best, so I'll concur with his remarks. You have a marvelous ministry that I admire very much.