Do we trust God? Do I trust God? Do we really trust God? I don't mean just for the big things or the things obviously out of our control like where to go to school, or whether we'll get married, or safety during travel, or even our Salvation - but in the daily happenings of life where we think we are in control of what happens to us.
I was confronted with my lack of trust this morning when I realized that God had provided for me in two specific ways last night even though I had been relying on my own ingenuity and cunning, which had fallen short. I had received a shirt for Christmas, but it doesn't fit properly, so I went to exchange it for the right size last night. I was certain that my Mom had purchased it from a specific store, so I went in, went up to the Men's Department and asked to exchange it. Well, it happens that that store doesn't sell that brand of shirt, which the clerk informed me of, so I left, but I was arguing with myself about where my Mom had purchased the shirt. I was certain that I had personally purchased the same brand of shirt at the same store several years ago, so I was assuming that the clerk was mistaken or something. I was also trying to figure out what to do now, since I had a shirt that didn't fit and the only store that the clerk knew that carried that brand was out of business.
Moving on, a little later that same night I was in Wal-mart looking for some note cards. None of the ones on the shelf met the criteria that I had laid out, they were all either Thank You cards, Invitations, or the design was pastel colors and flowers. I was looking for blank cards with a "manly" design, after all I will be sending them to guys. This was two strikes in one night, and it happened that the primary reason that I had gone shopping at all was to exchange the shirt, and buy note cards. Needless to say, I was highly disappointed with how the evening had turned out, so I finished my shopping and went home, still trying to figure out what I was going to do about accomplishing my goals that had been thwarted that night.
Later that evening, I had to call my Mom to answer a question, and while I was talking to her I remembered the shopping trip and asked her where she had purchased the shirt and where I could find some blank note cards that weren't "girly". It turns out that she purchased the shirt from a factory outlet store near her house, and she just happened to have a package of blank note cards that fit my criteria which she didn't need. So, I was happy, I had managed to accomplish my goals after all, or so I was thinking.
Then this morning I was thinking about life, and the chorus to the song "Thankful" by Caedmon's Call was running through my mind and I realized that God had been behind the events of last night, because if I hadn't had that other question to ask my Mom, I wouldn't have called her, and even then if God hadn't reminded me about my failures earlier I wouldn't have asked her about them. So I stopped and began thanking God for the way that he had eventually worked out the events of the previous night, and then it struck me that even though God had met my needs, I had not even remote thought to trust in him to meet them. I was focused on what I would do or could do. So after repenting of my lack of trust in God, I started thinking about how frequently we go about our lives relying on our own abilities and ingenuity to accomplish things. And when something small or inconsequential doesn't go right we just keep trying to figure out how to solve the problem instead of looking to God for the solution.
These events tied into my devotions this week. I have been reading in Philippians 1:3-20 where Paul rejoices in the giving of the Philippians and reflects on his circumstances. Throughout this passage, Paul's trust in God is evident, starting in verse 6 where he says "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6, NIV). Paul is trusting in God to complete the work of salvation that He began in their lives, the process of sanctification. Paul knew that the primary power behind their spiritual growth was God, and not anything that he or they could do. That doesn't mean there there is nothing that we need to do, but our primary responsibility is to trust in God and obey him, he will orchestrate our life to become more like Christ as we submit to him.
Further on in the passage Paul discusses the reports he has heard that some people were preaching out of envy and in rivalry with him. However, Paul is trusting in God to work through his word regardless of the motives of those preaching, as evidenced by his response in verse 18 where he says "But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice." (Philippians 1:18, NIV). And finally in verse 20 Paul reveals that he is trusting in God to glorify himself through Paul's circumstances.
As a result of my devotions the song "Thankful" by Caedmon's call has been running through my mind perodically this week, which is why I was thinking about it this morning. In the song, they remind us that we cannot do anything good on our own. The chorus repeats the line "I am thankful that I'm incapable / Of doing any good on my own" and one of the reason's why we are unable to do good on our own is so that as we trust in God for doing good he is glorified. The last verse of the song is
It's by grace I have been saved
Through faith that's not my own
It is the gift of God and not by works
Lest anyone should boast
Too often we try to do life on our own, and are relatively sucessful at it, at least from a physical, earthly point of view. But when we do life on our own, we can boast in our own abilities rather than in the working and provision of God. And by boasting in our own abilities, we are stealing glory from God and giving it to ourselves, which is a total inversion of what God made us to do, glorify himself. However, when we trust in God we are acknowledging that He knows better than us how to handle whatever situation we are in, and thereby we are giving him glory. Trusting God also brings other benefits such as peace, since we are submitting to God's control, we are not responsible to worry about the possible outcomes and ensure that we accomplish the right one, that is now God's job, and he is infinitely more qualified to handle it than we are.
So back to my question at the beginning, do you trust God? In everything? It is difficult, and I am still working on putting aside my pride and confidence and relying on God to work in my life, but when I do take even small steps of trust, God has always shown himself faithful to meet my needs. By recounting my failure in trusting God this weekend, I hope to remind myself and encourage others to trust God in all things whether big or small.