From His vantage point above time, God sees the end from the beginning, and when He sees His children about to take a wrong turn He tries to warn them. But if we don’t pay attention to that feeling that says go this way or don’t go that way, we can get ourselves in a lot of trouble.
Two times in my life I’ve heard God’s voice in that twilight place where you’re not completely awake or asleep. It wasn’t an audible voice like some people have experienced, but it was completely outside myself.
One of the incidents occurred several years ago when I was a lonely widow going through a strong temptation. I woke up with the image of a neatly packed box in my mind. It was tucked away in the back of a closet. In the dream/vision, whatever it was, I knew I should leave it alone, but I wanted to pull out one of the pieces and just look at it. I heard a voice say, “If you pull that out, it’s going to be hard to get it back the way it was.”
You know what I’m talking about. Have you ever tried to refold something and put it in the original packaging to return it? It never looks the same. It’s messy.
Well, I pulled it out. And it got messy.
I suppressed the warning. All the while, I knew this was not what God wanted for me, but I tried to convince myself otherwise. I was allowing myself to be deceived to justify my desires.
I believe there was one thing that saved me from following that path off a cliff. Even while I was in the temptation, I prayed. I remember a particular prayer. I was still trying to convince myself that this thing I wanted could be the will of God. In my heart, I knew it couldn’t be, but my emotions were keeping me from admitting it.
I prayed, “God please don’t let me make a mistake. Don’t let me go down this path if it’s not Your will. Stop me—even if you have to take my life to do it.”
Pretty heavy. But I meant it.
I couldn’t seem to stop myself, so I gave God permission (not that He needed it) to do whatever it took to stop me. This wasn’t like telling God, “If you don’t stop me, then I’ll know it’s okay for me to do this thing I know is wrong.” I’ve heard people give that excuse before. This was a plea to God to help me surrender to His will.
Well, I’m still here so God didn’t take me up on my offer, but I was forced off the path. It wasn’t my choice. God graciously took it out of my hands. But I suffered great emotional pain, a consequence of not listening to God’s warning.
Are you giving God permission to do whatever He sees fit with your life?
It’s not easy, believe me, but as I get older, I trust God more. Probably because I’ve seen the result of taking matters in my own hands. And—I’ve seen His faithfulness.
There’s a beautiful scripture that I like to use to remind myself that God’s way is always best.
Psalm 18:30 As for God, His way is perfect! The word of the Lord is tested and tried; He is a shield to all those who take refuge and put their trust in Him.
God’s way is perfect. So why would we ever choose not to follow it?
I think there are a couple of reasons we don’t trust our lives to God. The first is we don’t want to give up control. We pray. We ask God for help, but we want to keep just enough control that we can yank our trust back if it seems to be taking us in a direction we’re afraid of. Like, making us go to a foreign country as a missionary or something.
There’s actually a funny song about that. I don’t remember all the words, but the title is, Please, Don’t Send me to Africa. I don’t think we need to worry about God surprising us with a sudden call to missions if we have no heart for it. But—if He did, it would be His best for us.
Trust is signing the dotted line and letting God fill in the details.
We have to give up control if we’re going to trust God, and that is really hard. But that’s why God allows us to learn through our mistakes. He doesn’t protect us from all of the consequences of our actions, because if we suffer a little, we’ll eventually learn not to touch the stove.
But does trusting God mean we can never question Him?
Does He mean for us to just take whatever comes our way without asking why? I don’t think so.
There’s a famous scripture that I’ve often quoted but didn’t truly understand until recently. You’re probably familiar with it. “Though God slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
Who said that?
That’s right. Job.
At this point, Job has lost all of his children, all of his wealth, and finally his health. He’s sitting in ashes, scraping the boils on his body with a piece of broken pottery. His friends are telling him he’s being punished for his own wrongdoing. But Job speaks up to them.
In Job 13:14-15 Job acknowledges that he’s taking his life in his hands by arguing with God.
In verse 15 he says, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.” ESV
Job goes on to defend himself before God. In essence, he’s saying, I don’t deserve this. I’ve been faithful to you all of my life. Why are you doing this to me?
Of course, God comes along later and sets the record straight. None of us deserves anything, and no one has been completely faithful all his or her life. We’ve all sinned. But God defends Job against his “friends” and restores everything he’s lost two times over. He ends up with twice as many children. Twice as much livestock.
Everything was doubled except his wife. Sorry guys.
The thing that I want you to notice is that God didn’t punish Job for questioning Him. Why? I believe it was because Job had the attitude that no matter what God did, Job was still going to trust Him.
It’s okay to make your case before God. It’s okay to ask why?
It might even be okay to be mad at Him for a while.
But at the end of it all, we need to be able to say, “I trust you, Lord.” There’s peace in those words. We hand it off to God and leave the results to Him.
The second reason I believe we don’t trust God is that we don’t really know Him well enough to trust Him.
Philippians 3:8 . . . furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him . . .
The secret to trusting God is to become deeply and intimately acquainted with Him. This process can’t be rushed. We can’t fit it in between 8:00 and 8:15. I believe Satan tries to keep us so busy, so distracted, that we have no time to get to know God.
The Apostle Paul said he counted everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege of knowing Christ.
What are we willing to let go of to get to know Christ better?
What can be more important than being in His presence?
More and more, I find myself saying, “God, Your will be done,” without having a panic attack that what He wants may not be what I want. It’s getting easier to tell Him, “I know your way is best,” and mean it. That may be a result of knowing I’m going to be facing Him sooner rather than later.
I don’t want to face God with regrets.
I want Him to be able to say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” not “Marilyn, I had so many good things for you, but you didn’t trust me.”
The things we put before trusting God will all be gone someday.
We can trust God. He loves us, and He wants to bless us. I hope you find something in this article that will help you to trust Him more.
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P.S. Don’t forget Mindful Mutterings! Train that tongue!