“So where are you at?”
She was more embarrassed than anything. Asking about someone’s state of salvation is really quite a personal thing, made doubly difficult if the person is a good friend. Her answer challenged me though:
I want to trust him and I know I should but I just can’t trust him fully.
Her answer made me think, especially in light of some of the events of the past week:
I trust Christ fully for my salvation, but how far do I trust him with everything else?
Trusting In The Good Times
It’s so easy to have faith in God when everything is going well. He must be good, everything is going my way. Often that trust is diluted by self-reliance though: God has blessed me so much right now, he’s got a plan for me and I’ve got this.
How obvious it is to believe that God supplies our needs when we can see it. It’s obvious from the fact that when we open the cupboards there’s plenty of food, or from the payslips that get handed to us each month. It couldn’t be clearer to us that God is good because he is tagging along with what we want at that moment.
But in such cases, we aren’t actually trusting God fully, we’re tipping him a nod for letting us have our way and continuing to do so until he deviates from our plans.
Even if we don’t fall into the gaping-jawed trap of self-sufficiency, it’s still pretty easy to say that we believe God to be faithful, merciful, and sovereign when we can see what he is doing. Good times are not the most accurate barometer of faith.
Trusting In The Bad Times
When food is scarce, friendships failing, and the pain all-consuming, you begin to find out how far you really trust God. We all have different trials but the fire refines regardless of the furnace.
Do you trust God for work when you’re camped out at the job office? Do you trust God for the rent when the landlord turns up at the door? Do you trust God that all will be well when the doctor calls you in to discuss your results?
More importantly, do you trust God when he doesn’t give you what you want, whatever that is? This is when your faith is truly tested.
The most difficult times to stand firm are the uncertain ones. Even hard times are simple enough to pull through when you know the outcome. I took my grandfather’s death far better than the suicide of a sixteen year old friend for example. It’s easier to believe that everything will work together for those who love him and are called according to his purpose when you have a job offer in hand than when you are still hovering by the phone waiting to hear back.
You can trust the Lord more readily when you know what will happen. It’s about control.
The truth is that, much of the time, we don’t fully trust God even when we are saved. We don’t want to relinquish the (illusion of) control in case he messes it all up.
Right there is the heart of the matter. We don’t have complete faith in him because we see him as more superhuman and less God.
Trusting At All Times
Here’s the thing, it was us who messed up in the Garden and brought down the curse on all creation. It was Jesus who came and fixed it.
My view of the future has been forced to change quite uncomfortably recently. It wouldn’t be a big deal really but that the reality is that I just don’t know how things will play out. And the not knowing is killer. It’s worse than definite bad news.
Things might turn out how I hope or they might turn out how I hope they won’t. Or they might even take a totally different turn and turn out in ways I never could have hoped. It’s the not knowing that makes it hard to trust.
But, in the words of Richard Baxter, ‘It belongs not to my care…’
So I come back to my friend’s question and the thought that it provoked.
I trust God fully for my salvation but how far do I trust him with everything else?
It’s the wrong question really, I realise that now. Through thought and prayer and maybe a few tears, that much is certain.
Man’s sin caused the Fall. Our disobedience brought the curse upon our own heads and we couldn’t get ourselves out of the mess we’d made. But it was God sending his Son to die for us and rise again that fixed it. He’s got this, he made things right and one day he’ll make all things new as well. He has secured our eternal safety. There’s nothing bigger or more important than being made right with God and Christ has made that possible.
So the question is actually this:
If I can trust God fully with my salvation, why can’t I trust him with everything else?