What do we trust God for? When I hear people talk about trusting God it is usually when they are going through difficult times. People out of work trust that God will help them find a job, people who are ill trust God for healing, and people who are lonely trust God to bring love or friendship into their lives. While it is wonderful when suffering is relieved, God does not always help people in the way they hope he will. This begs the question, what should we trust God for?
The answer is simple to state yet difficult to comprehend. We should trust God to be God. We can be confident that God will act in a manner consistent with His character and plans and in ways that bring glory and honor to Himself. It follows that trusting God requires us to first understand His character and plans and then to make His glory our priority.
God is an infinite, eternal being who embodies perfect love, mercy and compassion, but who at the same time embodies perfect justice, righteousness and holiness. None of His attributes can be appreciated or understood apart from the others. As an eternal God He is more concerned with our eternal destiny than with our temporary happiness. He allows pain and struggle to come into our lives and then uses them to shape us into the people that He wants us to be. He allows times of need to increase our dependence on Him, and He allows us to endure the consequences of our rebellious choices so we can learn to follow Him.
This means that many of the circumstances we interpret as being indicative of God’s absence may actually be demonstrations of God working in our lives for our benefit. The worst job I ever had, with an unsupportive medical group in which I felt alone and oppressed, was a place where I was able to touch the life of a dying man and watch him come to faith. 15 years ago a virus attacked my spine, bringing with it the greatest physical pain I ever experienced. Those few weeks of intense agony opened my eyes to the suffering of others in more than all of the previous 15 years of practice and training combined. Out of the ashes of suffering rose a heart of compassion that had not exited before.
My life testifies to the truth that suffering is a tool in the hand of God. In times of suffering I have learned to trust God more, not to meet every earthly need but to accomplish every one of His eternal plans. With each of these lessons I gain more understanding of the words of Job, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him,” for my greatest Hope is not for blessing in this life, but the eternal life that He has promised those who truly trust in Him.
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