I had the privilege of facilitating a Bible study last night at our church on Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. If you haven’t read it, please consider this my personal endorsement and invitation to do so…for a lot of reasons.
Last night, the topic was about trusting in God. You’d think that in a church setting the topic of trusting God would be a ‘no-brainer’ for all concerned. You’d be wrong. I noticed more than one head nod ever-so-slightly when I asked if anyone had ever had difficulty with this issue.
As the questions and conversation continued, I began to notice something interesting. There is a pretty wide age range in this group—something I really love about them!—and what I noticed was in the responses (both verbal and non-verbal). There were some universal concerns/agreements on some questions and there were some definite differences on others. The differences seemed to be based around more life-stage issues: for example, those who were raising young children/teenagers had more specific instances of where it was difficult to trust God than the ladies who had adult-aged children/grandchildren.
That told me something important: trusting God is something we can grow into just like so many other growth opportunities we face. Growing older doesn’t always mean that we continue to grow in our faith—that is a choice requiring a consistent “yes” to God no matter what He sends our way. In the same way, youth doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of maturity in the faith, either.
One of the advantages of age in one who has loved and served God for a long time is the opportunity to have seen Him at work longer! Being consistently thankful is a way to remind ourselves of all the ways God blesses us. It’s an important step to building that trust in Him over time.
Ann Voskamp makes a bold statement when she says that choosing worry and stress is an exercise in practical atheism. She goes on to say that while Christians (those who have chosen to believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died to save them from their sins and lives to make intercession for them now while waiting to bring them home to heaven and present them as a gift to God the Father) can not be positional atheists (our position is sealed once we are saved) we can exhibit practical atheism. This is different from making sure that we’ve taken common-sense precautions. Once you’ve taken the necessary precautions in a situation, you can move on. Ann is talking about making a habit of choosing to continually recycle negative thoughts over and over in our minds without arrving at any productive solution. In short, she’s saying that when we consistently choose worry and stress—-we’re telling the world that God is not enough and that He can’t be trusted. Since we’re called to share the Good news of our Lord, who would possibly want to follow Him if He can’t be trusted? It’s something to think about…seriously.
We come from all kinds of different backgrounds. Some of us have faced many difficult challenges and may even feel we’ve managed them quite nicely all on our own. Some of us are dealing with pain even in this moment and know that we could never handle it without the help of a God who loves and cares for us in such detailed ways. No matter where you are in that spectrum, there’s always room for improvement. There’s always room for more trust in God. He can be trusted. No matter what you face today or have dealt with in the past, God can be trusted. That’s never going to change. What can change is our response to Him and our decision to take Him at His word and begin to trust Him more right now. It’s a process. How will you progress in the process today?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)