As many of you know, I am in the middle of a one year church planting residency program from which we will be planting a church.
In order to do this residency, my wife and I had to raise my full time support, which was intimidating.
To be honest my thought process went like this: We would have to really trust God for a few months while we raised support, then we could take a little “break” for a few months at the beginning of the residency, and then we would have to resume really trusting God as we prepared to plant a church.
Well, I was two-thirds right.
We have raised the majority of our support, but not all of it. Which means our financial situation is on my mind more than I thought it would be.
As much as I sometimes wish it wasn’t, that’s a good thing.
Trusting God can be hard, but we all trust in something. The only difference is whether or not we realize it. You may trust (without thinking about it) that the company you are working for isn’t going out of business next week. Otherwise you would be out looking for another job.
You may trust that some future relationship will bring you the happiness in life you are missing, but any married person will tell you that your spouse won’t (can’t!) completely satisfy you.
The difference is, when we trust God we at least know what we are trusting in. And really, is there anything or anyone better to trust than an all-knowing, all-powerful, cares for you more than anyone else, God of the universe?
Even still, it doesn’t mean trusting is always easy. Especially when we can be so focused on the temporal and not the eternal, thinking if God doesn’t provide for us here and now he must not care, missing the fact that it can be for not only our good but for the good of others that he doesn’t come through the way we expected.
My favorite example of what trusting God should look like comes from Daniel chapter 3. Here we see three people, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, about to be thrown into a furnace for not bowing down to the king of Babylon’s golden statue.
But it’s not only that. Jerusalem had been taken over by the Babylonians. And the king took the brightest, most skilled, best looking, and healthiest youth from Jerusalem and deported them to Babylon, essential to assimilate them into the kingdom to help Babylon stay strong.
So in Daniel chapter 3 you have three of those who were taken, and had vowed to not conform to any of the kings commands that would dishonor God. Not bowing to the golden image was the last straw.
Look at this exchange (Daniel 3:16-18):
King Nebuchadnezzar: If you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?
Their response: O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.
That is trust.
Knowing they serve a God who can, but if whatever reason in his infinite wisdom doesn’t, is still alone worthy to be worshipped.
Now I know that is a pretty intense example, but the principle still applies.
For us, we are trusting that God will provide enough throughout this residency so that we will be able to pay our bills without using savings. But if we don’t, so be it, even if in the moment we don’t understand why.
So whatever it is for you, my hope is that you and me and all of us can trust the way we see in that passage. And that we wouldn’t turn to trust in anything else that couldn’t save us anyway.