I recently posted on reading the book, Finding God in the Dark and that I’d be following up on several helpful quotes from the book…
Page 30 of Finding God in the Dark states, “The reason we take things into our own hands is we don’t believe God’s
hands are really at work.”
This truth resonates with me.
It’s something I had to wrestle with early in my church planting process, realizing there was this ugly thing inside of me that clung to control. God wasn’t moving fast enough, so I took the wheel and gave God some driving lessons. God has a way of teaching us to trust him; I’ve found it’s by him dragging my face through the mud for a few years, eventually to wake up and realize I should have trusted him all along (rather than freaking out when circumstances turned south).
I recently dipped my toe into the swamp of Christian publishing. It’s a scary world and seems like a prime candidate to chew a person up and spit them out, while removing their soul in the process. The reason I say this is because the entire foundation of getting published is getting lots and lots of people to like you and to do this you must go overboard in promoting yourself. Last time I checked, self-promotion (and the reliance on its results for meaning and value) are not Christian virtues nor good medicine for the soul. I’m grateful that God showed me the ugly part of my heart creeping up again, but didn’t let me get too far ahead of myself without adjusting my trust-meter first. I’ll write more about the publishing topic and how it relates to my ego issues in a future post, as Ted Kluck talks about that specifically in a later chapter. For this post, I want to focus on the issue of trusting God in general.
This chapter of the FGITD (p.33) goes on to say, “For all intents and purposes, I (Ronnie Martin) had become an unbeliever.”
All Christians say we trust God. Ask for a show of hands at church this Sunday and see how many hands go up.
But trust him for what?
We all say we have faith in him. Again, do the show of hands.
But faith in what specifically?
Faith that He is trustworthy?
Faith that He will catch us when we fall?
Catch us when we take risks for him?
The fact is, most of us don’t live in faith, we live in fear. We don’t take risks for God, because we don’t think He’ll catch us.
For all intents and purposes, we are unbelievers when it comes to anything regarding our daily lives.
We don’t tithe to our churches, because we’re afraid we can’t live on 90% of our incomes. And we certainly don’t generously beyond 10% to our churches and Kingdom causes because we’re really afraid of what that would look like.
We don’t tell our friends about Jesus because we are afraid of rejection.
We sin to solve our problems, because we don’t trust that God knows what he’s doing. We’re afraid of what the results will look like if we do things God’s way.
We lie to create a better circumstance.
We steal because times are rough.
We look to our careers to give us our ultimate meaning and value because we don’t trust that being a son or daughter of God is enough.
One was a story told by Henri Nouwen of how Henri attended a trapeze performance and afterward asked if they’d let him fly through the air and be caught. Quite a spectacular feat of risk we’d say. They said yes, but what he had to understand was that the key to being a trapeze artist was that you had to be completely still and fully trust the catcher to catch you. The catcher is the real hero of a trapeze act. Nouwen was in his older years when this story occurred and he did indeed fly back and forth numerous times as a trapeze artist, being perfectly still, having a blast, and being caught every time.
And trust the Catcher. (The more you flail, the more likely you are to fall!)
The second illustration Vince told was to get us to understand that risk is relative to what can be gained.
Would you take a bet with me where we flip a coin and if I win, you give me $100, and if you win, I give you $10? Of course not.
But you would take the same bet, the same risk, where if I win, you give me $100, but if you win, you win $1 million? Of course you would!
All this to say, take risks for God, obey his will, and trust in his plan. Even when things get tough, your job and my job is to stay faithful, not to produce results (the results are God’s job and they aren’t likely to come when you think they should). Stay faithful to God’s will, be still, and trust the catcher.
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