He was running late – incredibly late. Everything that could go wrong that morning did. His alarm clock didn’t go off. He spilled coffee on his shirt and had to change. After he left his apartment he realized he left important papers for his business meeting at home and had to turn around and get them. His morning had been horrible, and he was angry. God knew how important the morning’s meeting was to further his career. It was all he had prayed about for over a week. Didn’t God care what happened to him?
This is the true story about an uncle of a friend of mine. Even though I’ve never met him, I’ll never forget his story. You see, he lived in New York. He worked at the World Trade Center, and the morning was September 11, 2001. Because he was running so late, he didn’t make it to his business meeting. As his taxi pulled to stop, he saw a plane crash into the second tower, the tower where he worked.
Our lives are often like this. Nothing goes the way we planned. People get sick. Cars break down. Expensive repairs need to be made to the house. Things go wrong, and often we’re left wondering if God even cares.
I know I’m guilty of this. If I had a dollar for every time something in my life went wrong, I would be rich. And I admit, the temptation is to become frustrated and angry at God. How can I trust someone who doesn’t care enough to intervene and stop my suffering? If God doesn’t care about me, than why should I care about Him?
This is a subject that has occupied my thoughts more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve had a hard life, and it shows no signs of improving. Even the treatments I’ve been receiving the past two years have been incredibly difficult for me, even though they are helping me get stronger. Unfortunately, they’ve made me sicker before they’ve made me better, which seems to be the theme of my life. So how can I trust God?
As I was pondering this question I couldn’t help but think about Paul. Although he lived during biblical times, he is still considered one of the godliest men to ever live. Even though denominations often differ in their tenements of faith, one thing is readily agreed upon – Paul is one of the founding fathers of the church. His ministry led to thousands of converts to Christianity. He was a man who undeniably trusted God no matter what. Yet his life was far from easy. If anyone had a reason to quit on God, it was Paul. As he said in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28:
Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches
I’ve come to a conclusion about trusting God – a truth, I believe, Paul recognized early on in his relationship with God. It’s a choice a person must make every single day of his life. We can go to church every week, read the Bible and pray every day, and give money to missionaries, but that doesn’t mean we trust God. Trust is a conscious decision we make. It’s admitting that we don’t know what tomorrow holds and we don’t know what God’s plan is. Trusting God means we know that God is actively working in our lives, even though we can’t always see and understand it at the time. It’s one of the most challenging aspects of having a relationship with God, yet it’s also the most important.
When we trust God despite the problems we face, we are choosing to believe that our God is greater and stronger than any problem that comes our way. It allows us to have joy and be filled with a hope and peace that only comes from knowing God is at work in our lives. It frees us from being weighed down by the burden of our problems. Complete trust in God is liberating!
God has a plan for your life. He will use every aspect of the challenges you face for your good and His glory. Just because you don’t understand what He’s doing, doesn’t mean He isn’t at work.
Have you made the choice to trust God?
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG)