The Journey series
This week we consider what it means to trust in God. Many people believe this to mean, if we want something and pray hard enough for it, God will grant our desire. Success shows our will aligns with God’s; failure reveals we merely sought our own will.
We are in the driver’s seat as we go through life from item to item; cool pair of jeans, car, house, bigger house; and from phase to phase; girlfriend, degree, spouse, career, child. God might grant our wish outright or He may present a means to achieve it.
Can we truly steer our own course to a fulfilling life this way? Will we ever be happy with what we have? Or will we get trapped by the ever-growing burden of keeping and maintaining our acquisitions? We slowly and steadily extend our grasp to enclose what we sense is attainable, yet our accomplishments merely deliver us to the next unfulfilled desire. There is always more to want. We can never quite reach ‘more’; it forever remains just beyond what we have.
I propose a different perspective. Instead of praying that God will provide what we need, simply accept that He does. Then (here’s the radical part) consider that we, ourselves, are part of that providence. We are part of God’s creation. Each of us was created for a particular purpose. Instead of praying for what you believe you need; pray that you might discern what God needs from you. Look at your situation and your environment and ask why God placed you in that particular place at that particular time. Look at your skills and interests and ask how they mesh best with what looms ahead. Look behind you and see how your past accomplishments and failures may have prepared you for today.
When Goliath came forth to challenge whoever the Israelites might send forth as their champion, the Israelite warriors imagined the wealth and esteem defeating this giant might earn. Yet none dared face Goliath because they knew no one matched the Philistine’s strength and experience.
David didn’t set out to battle; he was delivering provisions. David knew the Israelites were God’s chosen people and realized Goliath’s challenge offended God. He knew he was just a small shepherd boy, inexperienced in battle. But he remembered how God allowed him to prevail against lions and bears. He knew that whoever faced Goliath would be God’s instrument. He trusted, not that he, but God would prevail. David didn’t seek gold and glory, as other warriors imagined; he surrendered to God’s providence. He sought to serve, not to gain.
Do we trust in God enough to freely serve wherever He wills? Do we have the courage to abandon ourselves to His providence, both in receiving and in giving? Is His mercy enough for us? Or will we live our lives constantly seeking gift after gift?
Peter T Elliott