Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
just to take him at his word,
just to rest upon his promise
just to know; thus saith the Lord
I really like this song. Mostly the words, not so much the music part. Maybe Cody and Melody Curtis can one day work their magical music chops and re-do this. (side note: you should go here if you want to see what magical music chops I am referring to) 😉 But, music aside, have you ever really listened to these words? It really is the sweetest most peaceful thing to simply rest and trust in Christ. He is, after all, the only one that knows all of our struggles. . .the one that came against everything we will ever go through and did not sin. He is the only one who knows how to have complete victory in this world. I would think we would trust in nothing else but him.
Then why do we have such a problem with trusting him. every. single. day?
What does it even look like when we are not trusting in Christ? Well it looks a lot like, fear, anxiety, grumbling, anger, frustration. . . you know. . . all those not so sweet things. If Paul can refer to himself as the chief of sinners I’m just going to be as honest as he and say I am the chief of grumblers and probably even worriers. . yea Ill take head spot in BOTH camps. I would probably even add anger. . . but I don’t want to be greedy. . . maybe someone else wants to be real and claim that one. Have you realized that when we practice these things. . . when we become anxious, fearful, unrighteously angry. . all of those things. . . we are actually NOT trusting Christ, we are NOT thinking he is for us, we are actually thinking he is not enough? Ugh. . . I write this for my heart more than anyone else’s. Some days I practice NOT trusting in Christ more than I practice resting in him. How horrible, how humbling, how regrettable that is! So many moments, so many moments of growth, so many moments of praise to God for refining me . . . I have wasted on grumbling, frustration, anger. . .I have robbed myself of experiencing joy and I have been robbing Christ of his praise…….. It hurts to even write that. . . to even think that I do this every day.
I once read a devotion from She Reads Truth (I highly recommend this) and it was discussing the Bayeux Tapestry. It is a 230 ft long embroidered cloth depicting a rich history over many years. In the devotion it discussed how we are like people looking up from beneath the tapestry. . . we see all the knots, the seemingly unrelated lines, crisscrossing in a pattern that looks like it only creates discord and ugliness, but the Lord, he is creating the tapestry from the top. He is carefully placing each line, each knot, making a beautiful, glorious picture. We see glimpses of the masterpiece, but many times we just see the chaos. Do you see the connection? This picture has stuck in my head since the first time I read about it. When I see a knot in my life or a line that seems out of place I get frustrated. . . I start fearfully trying to figure out how to fix it all, how to make it look more beautiful, more organized, more correct, instead of trusting that the Lord is intentional and wise and that he does not make mistakes.
Can we really say that we trust in God’s promises so much that everything we face, we look at and with all our hearts say this is for my good? Not in some churchy, this is what we are supposed to say, way, but a true whole hearted, no matter what happens, kind of way? If we truly saw all things through this truth, we would rest in him, right? When we fear the future we are saying, this will not be good for me. When we get angry at a messed up situation we are saying, another way would have been better. When we get frustrated when things do not turn out how we had planned, when people do not do what we think they should, we are saying, I know what is best and this is not it. The word says , And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28) We hear this ALL THE TIME! But its true even if it has somehow lost its meaning, its truth for you. The verses before it are even sweeter still.
For in this [hope in Christ] we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Rom 8:24-27
Did you catch it? Did you see how sweet the Lord is to us. . . In Romans 8 Paul speaks of how we are no longer condemned because of Christ, how we will be heirs with Christ, then he says we hope in a future glory that is going to be incomparable to the small sufferings we may face here on earth (even death), how we and all of creation are groaning for his return, and then finally in vs. 24 how we should hope in things we don’t see with patience. . .and then he says the sweetness. . .GOD KNEW we were going to not be able to do this. . that we would be weak. . . so he sends the Spirit to help us in our weakness. . . to help us speak what we do not even understand and to realize the next verse , that all things work together for our good. If he sent his own son to die in our stead while we were still sinners, then why do we not trust God’s goodness in everything else? Why do we not lift every single thing that happens to the Lord, with thanksgiving on our lips? He has given us every tool we need to find joy in Christ! He has given us the Spirit to help us communicate with Him, to help us trust in him. . . even in our weaknesses. He is so very kind to us!
I know there are horrible atrocities that happen and “where is God?” is uttered a lot in those times. But if we are to be radical Christians, with a no holds bar, I will trust, mentality. . . then for those who love Christ. . . we are to always be able to whisper in those dark moments. . .with no question, that He is here.
Even in the darkest moments, in the midst of great grief, the Lord is doing something so intentional. . . so good. I’m not saying that every hard thing will automatically give birth to something good. . . we may not see the good until we are face to face with Christ in eternity. . when we are finally above the beautiful tapestry of history, but I am saying. . . nothing happens without a purpose. . . every moment for the believer is a thread meant to spur on the kingdom.
Trust is hard in those really dark moments, but it is sometimes just as hard in the seemingly small moments too. Home schooling is my battle right now. There are days when I do not see it as for my good. I see it as a burden, as a time that upset my child, as a time of tears and great frustration, as a time to doubt myself, doubt God’s good plan for me. BUT he is there too. Just like God is in the midst of the horrible, he is in the midst of the ordinary. He is burning away at my impatience, he is making me love my daughter more and draw near to her when I want to run away from her. He is also speaking to my daughter’s heart. When I have to apologize to her she sees my sin, and then her sin. . .and sees why we NEED Christ. When she cries, I cry and daydream about a different path, but I have to trust that we are where we need to be. . . that I am being made more like Christ through my battle, and that my daughter may come to know Christ through these hard and sweet days. I have to trust that the ordinary day to day responsibilities are being used for our good as well. He is still creating the beautiful story of his great redemption, no matter how insignificant we think the simple daily thread is and so we still need to practice trust. We need to trust that He is wiser then us.
Our jobs, our interactions with people, with our children, our simple decisions we are making every day, our current economic situation, our current world situation. From the small to the big. . . are we trusting God. . . are we saying that we are going to praise and trust him come what may? Are we placing our trust in governments, houses, bank accounts, knowledge, ourselves. . .or in Christ? Only one of those will never fail you. Are we going to shout in our strength and whisper in our dark weaknesses that he is here. . . he is for us. . . we will trust in him?
I leave you with a simple statement of radical faith that leads to the sweet peace that is found in trusting in Christ.
I can not remember if I read this in the book Slowly by Slowly or heard it at one of IOI’s (Indigenous Outreach International) banquets. It was a story of one of the missionaries that is a part of the ministry. In the face of not having food to eat for a few days, he was asked about it and he simply stated that on the days there was no food for him, he took that as a time that the Lord simply wanted him to fast. Think about that for a minute. Let the full weight of that sink in. How would you react to days without food for yourself or your family? He took a time of no food, of hunger, to trust in God and to give praise to him. Does that turn your heart the way it did mine? The simplicity of his radical faith, the radical trust that he had for our great God? He had every opportunity to grumble, to fear for his lack of food, to get angry that God seemed to not be providing for him in the way he needed, but instead he showed great faith. . .great trust. He trusted that the Lord was doing something for his good, so he would be faithful and fast.
He used his time of need to run to the only one that could fulfill every need.
Do we see our trials, our battles, our weaknesses, the scary stuff, as opportunities to become ever more intimate with God? Do we see the ugly times as just moments that the Lord is using to create a full, beautiful history of redemption that he so graciously lets us be a part of? Are you so caught up in the knots (that you think are mistakes to begin with but really are so intentionally and intricately placed) that you miss the beautiful, rich picture that the Lord is stitching for himself and his people? O friends! How I want that radical, trusting heart! A heart, that in the midst of hard times, does not shout “why God!” or “Where is God?” but what do you want to teach me?, how can I glorify you through this?, how can I be made more like Christ?.
How embarrassing that I am so caught up in my own discomfort that I am forgetting that its not all about my comfort, that glorifying God through my actions is my first duty as a believer! That loving God and enjoying him forever is our greatest end? How I need to cling to the promises of God and know that what he says is enough for all situations. The big and the small. What are you not trusting God with? How are you not walking in obedience to him? What is stealing your joy? Don’t worry, I will be right there beside you, repenting with you, friend.
After all, this life is for our good, but ultimately for God’s glory. Lets glorify God together today, choosing joy, by simply trusting that in every moment he is making us more like Christ. Lets stop fighting and rest, trusting that God is faithful.
O for grace, to trust you more.