I realised anew that, just as we must learn to obey God one choice at a time, we must also learn to trust God one circumstance at a time. Trusting God is not a matter of my feelings but of my will. I never feel like trusting God when adversity strikes, but I can choose to do so even when I don’t feel like it. The act of the will, though, must be based on belief, and belief must be based on truth.
The truth we must believe is that God is sovereign. He carries his own good purposes without ever being thwarted, and he so directs and controls all events and all actions of his creatures that they never act outside of his sovereign will. We must believe this and cling to this in the face of adversity and tragedy, if we are to glorify God by trusting him.
I will say this next statement as gently and compassionately as I know how. Our first priority in times of adversity is to honour and glorify God by trusting him. We tend to make our first priority the gaining of relief from our feelings of heart ache or disappointment and frustration. This is a natural desire and God has promised to give us grace sufficient for our trials and peace for our anxieties (2 Cor 12:9, Phil 4:6-7). But just as God’s will is to take precedence over our will (Matt 26:39), so God’s honour is to take precedence over our feelings. We honour God by choosing to trust him when we don’t understand what he is doing or why he has allowed some adverse circumstances to occur. As we seek God’s glory, we may be sure that He purposes our good that He will not be frustrated in fulfilling that purpose.
– J. Bridges
I read this today in a friend’s book, and it struck me to the core.
As I have previously said, I do trust God. I trust that He is sovereign. I trust that He is good. And I trust that He loves me enough to die the death I deserve. But right now, if I am completely honest, I don’t like Him very much. I don’t like what has happened. I don’t like that he allowed Matt to die. I know that I have absolutely no right to question God or complain about my circumstances…but that does not stop me from being mad about this mess.
Like Bridges says, ‘I never feel like trusting God when adversity strikes, but I can choose to do so even when I don’t feel like it’. I guess my question in all of this is how do I show my trust in God even though I very much don’t feel like it? What does it look like practically?
One thing I am actively trying to do is stay in His word. The Bible is powerful and I have faith that as I read it God will mould my heart of stone back into a heart of flesh. I am thankful that God is big enough and strong enough to take my anger in this time; and I am especially thankful that He loves me despite it!
I guess at the moment my prayer is that God would give me a peace about the accident and the resulting changes to my life…and soon! (Maybe I should pray for patience too?)
I will also be reminding myself of this: