True faith is evidenced by the lack of worry. If I truly have faith in God, in His love, and in the perfection of His will, then my life is greatly simplified.
If I simply abide, day by day, moment by moment, in the full presence of God, then stress and worry are no longer factors.
I believe. And then act and react out of that belief.
Faith is the belief that God has got it handled. However, stress often comes from the fear that the will of God will be different than what WE want it to be. Which, while it is certainly faith, isn’t trust at all. Faith is knowing that God’s will will be done. Trust is believing that what God provides, and where he leads, will be better, fuller, and richer than whatever simple and shortsighted things we might think to hope for ourselves.
True, effective faith requires trust; and that’s what is so hard for so many. We can talk a good game about faith, but the hardest thing to truly have, sometimes, is trust.
When our “truster” has been broken so many times, by so many of the things we’ve experienced in life, the idea of true faith (and trust) in God is a scary thing indeed.
Because it means letting go of control…and that’s perhaps the scariest thing of all.
“I surrender all. I surrender all. All to thee, my blessed savior, I surrender aaaaalllll.”
So the song goes. But…am I really doing it? Am I really giving everything over to Him? Or, am I still holding on to a few things I plan to handle for myself?
Why do we sometimes cling sooo tightly to a favorite fear, or chose to continually re-live the same past trauma, or dwell forever on that one special mistake we made way back when? It’s like some ragged stuffed animal that’s been with us for so long that we just can’t quite seem to let it go.
“MINE!” we yell.
So, inevitably, that’s precisely where God is going to focus his attention; because it’s the very things that we hold on to the most tightly that are the most important for us to let go of.
It’s those learned responses, those conditioned reflexes, those programmed behaviors, those things where we stubbornly insist, “It’s just the way things are!” Even if they aren’t pleasant, they are comfortable, they are familiar; they are what we know. And they may even be true…for now.
But…just because that’s the way things are, doesn’t mean that’s really how they have to stay, is it? God is all about taking what is…and changing it into what can be. HOWEVER…
…we have to let go of it first.
It’s those very things that we “know” with such certainty that too often get in the way of discovering the real truth of things. It’s only when we stop trying to tell God how things are, that we become open to the possibilities of what they can be!
Problem is, that means letting go of our illusions of control, of our carefully nurtured victim-hood, or of any of 101 other things that we tend to put in place of a complete reliance on God and an unwavering trust in His sovereignty over our life. And that’s hard. Real hard. Because we really like our little teddy bear.
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1st Cor. 13:11-12
If I hold on too tightly to those artifacts of the past, if I cling too tightly to that ragged old teddy bear, I can never really grow up the way I am supposed to, the way God wants me to. I stagnate, I get stuck, and I don’t grow. So, before I can move forward, I have to stop looking back. Instead of focusing on what was, I can start seeing what new things God is ready to lead me into instead!
Challenge: Lord, what are those things in my life that I haven’t let go of yet? What are things I need to put into your hands? What are the fears I most need to trust you with, and the places in which I most need to be the most open to change?