I have discovered one of the biggest challenges in this life is to REALLY trust God.
It is easy to say that I do, but can be very hard to actually put into practice. When trials, like the death of my spouse, come into my life I have been tested to see where I really stand.
Time and time again, I have seen the hand of God in my life. He is guiding my life. So why don’t I always trust Him? Why do I “fight” his guidance? I have been pondering these questions a lot recently.
I have come to realize, trust is more than believing that God is directing your life and has a plan for you. It is trusting that, with God’s help, you can endure the direction your life is headed. It is trusting that I will receive the best outcome for my personal plan and growth. Therefore, trusting God is really a three step process. First, I must trust that God knows my plan and is directing my life. Second, I must trust that He will guide me through the path placed before me. Third, I must trust the end result will be what is best for me.
I have discovered that, more often than not, I trust God is directing my path. However, I have lacked, at times, the trust that He will help me on my path. I forget that He can and will help me to get through the loneliness, sadness, pain, etc… I have also struggled with the third part of trust. It is hard to trust God because it is hard to visualize that something so painful can turn out to be the best thing for me.
Let’s face it, we all want to feel loved; most of us don’t want to be alone; we don’t want to feel sadness; we don’t want to hurt. Many of the things we face in this life cause us to feel these undesired—downright painful—emotions. Even though we may know the outcome will be in our best interest, we still try to avoid things that will cause us pain to get to that point. That is human nature. God understands why we struggle with trusting Him completely.
One of my favorite books is called “The Lord Looketh on the Heart”, by Max & Bette Molgard. I would like to share a story from that book. It is an old Arab Legend that can help us to understand God’s panoramic view.
“The great prophet Moses was visited by angels and invited to come to heaven. While there he noticed God giving orders to some of his angels. Curious, Moses asked if he could accompany an angel on his mission. The Lord was reluctant at first to send Moses, claiming that he would not be able to understand what the angels had been sent to do, but with further pleading he finally consented, with a condition. Moses must promise not to question the things he would see. To this Moses agreed and soon found himself flying with the angel down to earth.
They first flew over the water until they came to a small fishing boat upon which seven poor fishermen were trying to catch their daily sustenance. As they flew nearer, the angel looked upon them and waved his arm. Immediately the ship broke in half and all seven of the humble fishermen drowned. Moses was stunned at this and began questioning the angel. The angel reprimanded Moses, reminding him of his promise, and they flew on in silence.
The second circumstance found them flying over the desert near a small village. Walking down a dusty path was a young boy of about ten. As they flew by, the angel once again waved his arm and the young boy dropped dead on the path. Moses was again astonished at the irrational behavior of the angel and began to protest loudly until the angel again silenced him by reminding him of his promise to the Lord. A quiet but angry Moses continued on the journey with the angel, confused that the Lord would send an angel to work such destruction and sorrow upon innocent people.
The third episode involved a small family living on the outskirts of a large city. Along the caravan road entering the city lived a poor widow and her only son. They were desperately poor and lived solely upon the meager harvest of a small garden scratched into the dust of their backyard. The garden was alongside an old stone wall erected to separate the home from the caravan route into the city. As Moses and the angel flew by, he once again waved his arm, and the stone fence fell into the widows garden, destroying all the produce. At this unexpected turn of events, Moses could no longer be silent in his protesting and the angel took him back to heaven and to the Lord.
Moses asked the Lord why he would do such things, and the Lord reminded him of the warning that he would not be able to understand the workings of God. After further protests, the Lord decided the only way to teach Moses would be to send his again with the angel, this time to see things he had not seen before.
Once again Moses and the angel flew over the water where the fishermen had perished. Debris and wreckage still floated on the surface of the water. As Moses watched, he saw something that he could not see the first time. Far over the horizon, just barely in view he noticed another boat. The angel allowed Moses to see what would have been had he not been sent of God. The other boat was full of pirates, and Moses knew that the fishermen would have been captured, tortured, and sold into slavery had the Lord not in his mercy chose to bring them home.
They then passed the young Arab, still lifeless along the desert path. Moses was allowed to see that later that same afternoon this young boy would have accidentally killed his brother. According to the custom of the village, he would have been disowned by his family and made an outcast in the town, being forced to make his living begging in the streets until death from disease freed him from his misery.
Finally, they flew over the widow’s garden, where the woman and her son were struggling to salvage something from the chaos that was once their garden. As the young boy dug away the earth under a large rock, he noticed a small cache. Investigating further he found a small chest. He called to his mother, and they looked inside and found a treasure trove of jewels and riches enough to provide a comfortable living for them for the remainder of their lives.
With a smile Moses flew back to heaven with the angel. He finally understood what the Lord had been trying to tell him.
As we consider the legend, the words of Isaiah come to mind:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Trusting God means I will not always understand why things happen. Trusting God means letting go of what I think or thought should happen. Trusting God means that I need to have faith that He knows what is best for me. Not just for this mortal life, but for eternity. Trusting God means I have faith He will help me on my path. Trusting God means I understand that my path may be very undesirable and painful at times, even with his help, but that the end result will be worth it!