Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Trust ...




I have just read a great devo that Mel at Mel's world wrote on trust and living in the fog (God is in the Fog). I smiled to myself and then thought, "darn"! Yet another finger poke! This is a reoccurring theme in my life and once again, right now, I am really struggling with trust. A friend of mine told me the other night that I am being disobedient. I suppose I am ... my reply was that I am not being defiant in it, I am just struggling and I cannot see. And ... I don't want to hope or dream in this area because unmet dreams are painful.

Mel shared from Proverbs 3:5-6 and it made me want to share a wee story with you. This takes place back in 1997 when I was an intern working at my church. It is one of many lessons in trust ... seems to be my life lesson - I just go to harder levels each time! But thats how we learn to walk by faith people ... baby steps first!

On my ministry internship programme we were given support of $100 a week and I taught at my school on my Monday off, which earned me another $100. That year I was living very much by faith, and there were many many times God provided for me - in all sorts of amazing ways. One week, things were so tight financially, that the option was eat, or put petrol in the car. I needed to drive to work at the offices (a 30 minute drive) so, in my fabulously competent way of taking charge of my life (NOT!!) I thought, "oh well, I could really do with fasting this week any way ..." and that is what I did - fasted for the whole week. So picture me at the end of a week of fasting. I haven't really heard from God much but I fasted anyway. On the Tuesday (the last day of my week of fasting) I read Proverbs 3:5-6. The scripture reads, "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight. As I read it, I sensed God's leading to stop on those two verses. There are 5 challenges he highlighted to me, that I would like to share with you:
1. Trust in the Lord ...
Trust in WHO? (yes ... thats right, who or what, are YOU trusting in ...)

2. With all your heart ...
How much? ALL ...

3. And lean not on your own understanding ...
Hmmm ... I can't lean on mine? Could it be that God's ways and thoughts are not mine! Could it be that they are higher ... (Isaiah 55:8 would say, YES!)

4. In all your ways ...
All? ALL? At this point I got a little mad with God and said, "That's not fair! You are asking for something not humanly possible ... You are asking for perfection and I can't give this ..." My attention was drawn to Ez 36:26-27, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and keep my laws ..."

Wow ... what an awesome God we have ... he is not asking for sinless perfection here ... he just wants our heart and our spirit. He wants to permeate every area of our lives.

5. Acknowledge him ...
Acknowledge WHO? Acknowledge HIM! How many times do we (in a very subtle, roundabout manner) go, "well I prayed and then God moved ... " Its okay to acknowledge God's answer to prayer but don't forget that scripture tells us his blessings fall on the righteous and the unrighteous. It's not because of us people. It's because of HIM.

I don't know about you, but the way I often live this scripture is, "Trust in the Lord with some of my heart, and lean entirely on my own understanding!" Having read and meditated on this scripture, I thought it was pretty awesome. On Wednesday, it was payday and I was a little desperate. My car had 1/4 tank of petrol in it (I used a tank a week going back and forth to the offices, let alone any running around I had to do in addition to work). My sister was coming to visit from Australia and I needed money for parking at the airport, as well as money to have dinner with them. I rang up my bank account and to my horror, there had been $30 of unexpected bank fees and charges. I can still remember the frozen panicked feeling. I would not have enough money to meet all my expenses again. And this time, I had no way around it. I had come to the end of my plans and my thinking. I remember being in tears and saying to God, "but I can't go without food another week (not a great idea when you are seriously anaemic which I was at the time)." As clear as anything, "I sensed his quiet voice saying, "and whose idea was that Sarah? I did not ask you to do that. You just tried to orchestrate things your own way and left me out of the picture." Ouch! Butt seriously kicked and I was chastened.

On Friday that week, I was reading in Proverbs 3 again and this time, vs 9 - 10 jumped out at me: "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing and your vats will brim over with new wine." Again, I was pulled up short as I was not tithing when money was really tight. I sensed that God was saying that he wanted me to put $20 in the offering Sunday as a commitment to trusting him. Okay ... now I have $50 less than I need to meet all my basic expenses (not counting airport and dinner with my sis). Again I struggled and wrestled. As Sunday came, I put that tithe in the offering and pledged my trust to God once more.

On Sunday night an elderly couple at church gave me $10 because they felt led to. (They were pensioners and this was sacrificial giving for them.) On Tuesday I came out of a meeting and when I opened my Bible there was more money in it! Amazingly, my quarter tank of petrol lasted me until the next pay day (I kid you not - and this included extra running around over to the North Shore and out to the airport!). I was even able to take a discouraged friend out and treat her to coffee and cake. God met all my needs and then some. A valuable lesson in trust.

And yet, here I am again ... struggling with it. Struggling to trust. Perhaps I am struggling because this isn't just a bigger step. This is uncharted territory. This is something completely out of my control. It is a hearts desire and something that was buried deep in the basement of my life until the past year. It is something that in all honesty I would like to put back in the basement and shut the door on because it hurts. I don't want to dream about it and think about it. I don't want to hear a platitude of, "God will give you the desire of your heart", because do you know what people? Sometimes in life, we don't get to see the fruition of those desires. There is a whole chapter in Hebrews dedicated to the heroes of faith - all of who died having seen it from afar, and not having attained it! I don't want to spend emotional energy contemplating my desire. Actually, in all reality, I would like to go back to Egypt! (It was comfortable there ... cozy and warm ...!) But I can't. And you can't either. The only way to travel is forward, and the only way to walk forward is to trust. When you are struggling with that ... reach up from your pit and cry out for him to lift you out of the mud and mire. He will set your feet upon a rock ... upon THE ROCK, and give you a firm place to stand. He will put a new song in your mouth and people will see who HE is ... Our little mustard seeds of trust are something greatly treasured by God so don't be dis- couraged. Be en-couraged. Let him fill you with HIS courage and dare to dream!

10 comments:

Mel's World said...

Yes, Yes, and Yes!!!!

What a great testament to HIS grace my friend! It is truly HARD to trust sometimes, isn't it?, but has HE ever give you any reason NOT to trust Him?

Love it,
Melissa

The Olson's said...

Wow! Are you sure you weren't reading my thoughts? It felt like we were sitting across from each other and you were speaking those words just to me. Thank you for sharing. My husband and I believe that God is choosing this year to be a year of change for us and from the processing we've been going through, we have a feeling it could be big. (I don't like change!) Thank you again for sharing.
~ Leanne

Penless Thoughts said...

I linked onto your post from The Olsons. Wonderful post here!!!!
Susan

Fireball said...

isnt God amazing and wonderful and honest all at the same time!

sounds like a good friend you have...

keep pressing in! keep pressing in! keep pressing in! one step at a time keep pressing in.

i loved your little story - what a faith lesson!

glad to see another post - you are on a roll this year! more please! your posts are always REAL and real life and spiritual but unspiritual (in a good way!) and are always filled with hope and grace and faith!

you go girl!

sassiekiwi said...

Thanks Claire ...

Yes I seem to be on a bit of a creative roll at the moment ... Mel's post sparked this and last night I was struggling so when I read her post ... it just poured on out!

I am blessed with great friends ... we love each other and speak the truth frequently!

I'm glad I don't come across as "spiritual" - it's something that I don't like so I really try to keep it real! Thanks for the encouragement ... and I really like your Jesus post today too ... it reminds me of that prayer ... you know the one ... "he's the king of kings ... he's my Jesus ..."

Karen said...

Wow, there's a real theme going on for you Sarah, with those basement dreams and the issues of trust. Made me think of when I was younger, you know there would be some girls who were totally disorganised and just went with the moment and were confident that no matter what 'Dad' would bail them out, pay for this or that, never a moment's worry, total trust in Dad. Then there would be me, had to be responsible for moi from a young age, paying some board from the age of 14 to my parents and I always felt I had to know the whole story and how it would pan out before leaping, couldn't just take a step of trust because...well I felt I had had to trust and rely on myself to get through and who would be there? Not faith filled, but I was reminded of this. My current journey is pretty different, I'm being shaken up in dormant areas and a desire stirring, this is a re-awakening from 1989 and earlier...I mean man, that's a long time and I have to undergo a whole new mindset, but the desire is outweighing the fear etc. There is some nest ruffling going on isn't there? And I feel to say to you, fly like an eagle, stand on the edge of the precipice and fly. There is much more for you, much much more!

BunnyGirl said...

Sassie, I love (i mean LOVE) that you tell it like it is. There is no fluffiness here, no warm fuzzies. It's all real but in the reality is a faith that shines and encourages us all on.

Back in 1999 God told me he was going to teach me about Trust. A number of events took place in my life to really shake up my trust in Him. Would it surprise you to know I am still learning? As you say, it's the next level. But its key and without trust, our faith is dry.
Thanks for sharing this.

freetofly said...

Sassiekiwi! mmmm...lots I want to say. But,I am just going to keep it simple. I like your thoughts. Always enjoy hearing what is going on in the deep of your mind!

The verses in Proverbs 3 you worked on are HUGE life verses for me. And for the year of 2008 I have made them my screensaver, so I see them a whole lot! They are so simple & so powerful!

Ok, I can't resist. I have this picture of you as a sheep, who stubbornly wants the Shephard to explain the plan for the pasture He is leading her to. How can she be sure that this journey will not break her heart? Not end in fatigue, injury, or hunger? Or what if she misunderstands Him and loses sight of Him? The Shephard smiles and gently says "Come, trust me, don't look too far down the road, keep your eyes on me! There will be challenges, but, I am sufficient to overcome! I know the way, you are with me, I won't lose you!"

Peace!
Maria

freetofly said...

Sassiekiwi, I have to thank you such an awesome link! That Faith & Contemporary Culture Link Rocks! Literally!

There was a ton of useful info & my son was really encouraged by it!

Thanks so much! Hope you don't mind if I copy it! :)

Danifesto said...

I really enjoyed your story about how God got you through that week! I also hear your fears about how sometimes God doesn't always give us what we want in life. But it does appear that He always gives us what we NEED.
"Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul."