"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts." - Psalm 139:23
Listening to yesterday's sermon, I've pondered questions that began with Chad's words and ended with even more questions that linger in my heart. When life is full of struggles, do I still trust Him? When the way is dark and uncertain, do I trust Him? When life doesn't go MY way, do I still trust Him? Do I trust Him now? When I think about past events and periods in my life knowing God brought me through them, I think in Scripture...I can't remember when I started thinking that way but it seems that during the lowest points of my life, God whispered--or shouted--through His Word somehow. I can't say that I always went searching for Him--sometimes I was running as far away and as fast as I could. My faith isn't always so strong nor my will so compliant that I searched His Word instead of my own way but He spoke even when I least wanted to hear Him. Through it all, certain Scriptures somehow made themselves known to me, slapped me in the face, or settled in my heart. His words became very precious, speaking life and love to me when I needed it most.
I couldn't help but think of all the times God and I have fought that battle of wills: His vs. mine. Every single time, He wins (imagine that!)...yet I still tend to fight. I'm stubborn that way but I'm so glad that God knows me so well. He knows my heart and He has been so patient. Instead of losing patience and giving up on me, He used these times to teach me. He still does. He leads me "in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139, yes ALL of it--one of the most well-worn pages in my oldest Bible.)
I think of times when my heart was broken and I lost everything, He reminded me that I am His and He is mine. Even when life was turned upside down, He was still God. Even now, I hold His words so very close to my heart through every day and every circumstance. "You are Mine....I am the Lord, your God..." (Isaiah 43:1-3)
I think of times--even now--when life is so busy, chaotic, and unmanageable. When I'm doing and serving and filling everyone's needs except my own... and all my efforts seem to be in vain. He reminds to stop and focus on Him rather than circumstance. In this very moment, He fills my need as He whispers, "Be still and know..." (Psalm 46:10)
I think of times when I failed Him so miserably...those times when I willfully took the wrong path. He reminded me that He is always faithful even when I'm not and His love never gives up. Even today, I have hope because His mercy is "new every morning." (Lamentations 3:19-23)
I think of times when my way was dark and life seemed so uncertain. I didn't understand where God was leading me or how He could use me. He reminded me, "My ways are higher than your ways." When I doubted His purpose and I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, He promised me, "So you'll go out in joy, you'll be led into a whole and complete life...No more thistles, but giant sequoias, no more thornbushes, but stately pines—Monuments to me, to God, living and lasting evidence of God." (MSG) I still look forward to the day that I'm a sequoia--a stately pine. (Isaiah 55 - There's so much in this chapter, I continuously realize something new as I learn and grow.)
So...do I still trust Him? Yeah, I think I do. Oh, not perfectly...not even close! But I do trust Him. He hasn't brought me this far to leave me now. And when push comes to shove, I inevitably hold on to His promise that He will never leave nor forsake me. Yet, in the middle of a moment, sometimes I'm still afraid, I still fall, I still doubt His grace is for me, I still try to escape Him...In those moments, though I KNOW His promises and His Word, I take my eyes off of Him and seek my own way--old coping mechanisms and escape routes--my "back-up plans" in case God doesn't come through like I think He should. So I guess the real question is do I trust Him ENOUGH? ...Enough to let go of my "safety net" (that really isn't so safe)? Enough to stop running from grace? Do I trust Him enough to fully surrender the outcome of every circumstance? Those questions, though so important, are for another time as God and I sort through them together...For now, I will keep Psalm 139 close to heart and be grateful that no matter where I go or how far I run, He is still there. I will trust that the smallest faith can overcome the biggest doubt. I hold on to another of His great promises that even faith as small as the tiniest mustard seed can move mountains (Matthew 17:20) and pray that my moments of doubt are few...
"Lord, I believe; help my unbelief." (Mark 9:24)