Trust and obey
For there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey.
So we sing so sanctimoniously on a Sunday morning. And so we forget so easily by Monday morning. When the bill comes due, the kids won't obey and the thermometer reads 103 degrees---those are the times that a pasted-on smile tends to sag at the corners. Why is it that trust becomes difficult at the first sign of trouble? Do we really have that little confidence in our God?
The truth is that most of us believe He created the world in six literal days, that He parted the Red Sea and that He was born to a virgin. We believe He died on the Cross and rose again. We even believe that He paid the penalty for our sins and that we will meet Him in Heaven someday. Those are some big claims. Weighty thoughts. How is it that we can't trust the One who raised Lazarus from the dead to care for our sick child?
I believe that for many of us our problem isn't believing that He can, it is believing that He will. The simple fact is that while He healed lepers during His time on Earth, people die of cancer every day. Even people we know. Even those closest to us. Sometimes it even happens to us.
While He provided Peter's tax money from the mouth of a fish, people lose their jobs and have their homes foreclosed upon. Even people we know. Even those closest to us. Sometimes it even happens to us.
And while He raised several from the dead in His three years of ministry, He was crucified on a cross and He died. It happened to Him.
Imagine how the disciples felt. They had given everything they had in them to follow after Jesus. They had watched Him do so many miracles that they almost became commonplace. They waited for a lightning bolt to come from Heaven and consume the cruel Roman soldiers, the cowardly Pilate and the jeering crowd. It never came. Even God turned His back as Jesus drew His last breath.
This is why it is hard to trust. We can trust Him to do anything, all things, great things. However, He doesn't always do our thing. We want the miraculous, the fanfare, the breath-taking. Instead, we receive pain, financial loss and shattered relationships. And sometimes we feel the darkness of a God that seems to have turned His back to all our suffering.
But what if trust isn't about getting what we want? What if it doesn't always result in a miracle? And what if trust just plain hurts?
As a child of seven, I remember lying face down on the table in my doctor's office. I had an abnormality on the bottom of my foot that was impairing its function. It had to be removed, the doctor told my parents. I don't remember when I found out that he decided not to numb it or that he decided a scalpel alone would be the best tool to remove it. I just remember my mom standing by my head and giving me her hand. "If it hurts, just squeeze my hand, honey," she whispered as Doc went to work on the most tender spot of my foot. I don't think I let up my grip on her hand until he was done, which seemed like an eternity later.
I couldn't trust my mom to take away the pain. Even in my second grade, limited wisdom I knew it had to be done for my own good. However, I fully trusted my mom not to leave my side. And she didn't.
He won't take away every pain. He allows many things for reasons beyond my understanding. Yet, when circumstances seem like more than we can bear, He leans in and whispers, "Here's my Hand. Through the pain and suffering, hold tight. I'm not going anywhere."
And He doesn't. That I can trust.