How trusting are you of God's trustworthiness?
It sounds a little like a trick question, but there is nothing that we do in relation to God that is detached from faith. We either act in it or apart from it.
But faith doesn't come easily. It comes from God—that should be easy enough. But, although he is eager to give it freely and generously, we have to want faith before he bestows it. Sometimes we don't want faith because it's irrational and a whole lot of scary and you might even think of your own self as a wacko.
Let me explain.
When Mike felt God's clear and distinct call to ministry, he quit his full time job—the one that paid our bills, became a student again, and looked for a part time job in ministry. We then sat in our living room alone, rocking back and forth in prayer, offering our irresponsible-in-earthly-terms act of faith to God in response to his call. Even I thought we were crazy.
Faith is a little crazy and a whole lot of fear because God's plan is unpredictable. Yet he calls us to it and equips us for it just the same.
A few examples of faith in action:
- Moses going to pharaoh with the absurd news that God wants him to let his nation's slave labor walk away.
- Abraham packing up his life and leaving on a life journey to God knows where.
- Abraham tying up his son to be sacrificed trusting that, knowing God, this will somehow end well.
- Joshua marching around a city with trumpet fanfare as a conquering strategy, trusting what God has said on the matter. "Yes, Joshua, this is the most excellent way to overtake a city," (because surely Joshua asked incredulously, "Are you quite sure, God?!")
God has a wild imagination. If zebras and giraffes don't prove it, maybe a look at how God does what he says he will do will convince you.
- God made what looked to man like the Red Sea and, hence, a dead end a walking trail out of Egypt.
- God used the death of deity in the flesh to usher in eternal life for his fallen creation.
- God took a century-old couple and made them parents.
But God sees it and he does immeasurably more than all we imagine—often in most unconventional ways that will delight us if we trust him.
He usually doesn't tell us his plan before he includes us in its unfolding. Getting to be a part of God's plan should be enough for us. God asks that we simply trust him, and believe that, somehow and no matter what, it's going to be glorious.
He is pleased only by what we do in our faith and finds no pleasure in us when we shrink back (Hebrews 10: 38).
But it's tempting to shrink back:
- when you're marching ridiculously around Jericho.
- when God uses a fish to rescue your rebel self from drowning only to give you a second chance to speak his word.
- when you're rocking alone in your living room fearful and jobless.
- when you're obedient, and it looks outrageous, and people think you are a whole lot of crazy.
So there it is. The great big question God keeps asking through the ages. Even though he's proved himself countless times by now, and even though, regardless of that fact, we still squirm: How trusting are you of his trustworthiness?
I'm praying my answer is "Enough to do a whole lot of crazy, enough to do the ridiculous and unimaginable, enough to do unpredictable exploits for the Lord that are unmistakable, the kind that happen only when we have faith."
Amen—May it be so.