Those who are righteous will long be remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.” (Psalm 112:4-8.)
My heart thudded in my chest as I held onto the ten-foot-high deck railing for dear life. My little four-year-old hands gripped as tightly as they could, but I felt the bars slipping from my sweaty grasp. For a brief moment, I considered calling out to my parents.But I couldn’t call them. I’d disobeyed them by going out on the deck in the first place.
Suddenly, I knew exactly what to do. I’d just pray for God to help me! He could save me. My parents and Sunday School teachers told me that God answered prayers, so I knew he’d rescue me. I sent a calm plea upward and waited.
One hand broke free, and with alarm, I realized the second hand was getting slick. I clung on tightly, but suddenly it slipped free and it was a stomach fluttering fall followed by a sickening smack. The bone of my arm pushed through my skin at an awkward angle, and I remember staring up at the night sky thinking only one thing: God, why did you let me fall?
Maybe you know what that feeling is like. Maybe it wasn’t a deck you fell off of, but a leap you took trusting in God, and He let you fall flat on your face. Or maybe it wasn’t an arm you found broken, but a relationship. Maybe it was a dream you spent years praying about and building, only to have both hands slip away right when you thought you had it.
You might feel as if God let you down. And if I knew your story, I wouldn’t blame you. Having something like that happen strains our relationship with God and severely hurts our willingness to trust Him.
The truth is, God does sometimes allow bad things to happen to us. If you’ll look at the verse I began with, you’ll notice it doesn’t say, “They do not fear bad news; it won’t happen to them,” but, “They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them.”
Do you confidently trust the LORD to care for you no matter what happens? Another way to ask this question might be: do you believe God is trustworthy? Please take just a moment to stop and honestly answer that question before continuing to read. Don’t be afraid to ask it. God already knows the answer. It might help if you do, too. Don’t answer flippantly, but really search your soul and ask yourself: do I trust God? Do I trust His character? Do I trust him in my every day life, with every day things, and not just for my salvation? Do I trust that His plans for me are good ones, meant to prosper me and not to harm me, even when they’re painful? Take a moment to think on that, and then come on back.
I know it’s a tough question, but that’s why I’m asking it. How you treat God and interact with Him depends on your answer to that question. If you don’t trust God, you will always be keeping Him at arms’ length, and your relationship with Him cannot grow. Before you beat yourself up too much over that, are you curious as to what my answer to this question was? If you’re wondering, it wasn’t a wholehearted “yes.”
Searching the depths of my own soul, I was shocked and ashamed to admit that,
despite everything God has done for me to prove His love over the years, I found I still withhold some things from Him.
I share some things that weigh heavy on my heart, but not the heaviest. I rely on Him for some things, but rely on myself for more.
We have learned through life to protect ourselves and in the process save a lot of time and energy. We’ve learned not even our closest friends or family can be completely trusted, and all those experiences color how we treat our relationship with God. If we believe no one can be trusted, then is God any different?
It’s easy to let our pain prejudice what we believe about God and His character.
Is God trustworthy? That’s a question I could answer for you scripturally and theologically, but in the end, I think it’s a question you have to ask God yourself. The only way for you to know for yourself if God is trustworthy is to get to know Him intimately and well. If you know His character, you’ll know if He is the type of God that Jeremiah 29:11 speaks about. A God whose plans are to prosper you, and not to harm you. To give you hope and a future.
Right here, right now, you can meet with God. Whether you’re angry, grieving, or terrified, God already knows. Whatever is in your past, present, or future, He knows. But I also believe He cares.
You know what was most remarkable on the night I broke my arm? It wasn’t that I wholeheartedly believed that my God would save me. Oh, no. Instead, it was this: that I still believed He loved me even after he let me fall.
Wow. Back then, I had enough faith to make Mother Teresa jealous. I still trusted in a God who sometimes let me fall. Now, I’m not sure I’d be so willing. I’ve had too many people hurt me. But if I look past the pain… I can also see a loving Father with arms outstretched, just waiting to take me into His arms.
The choice is always ours: we can choose to hold back because of our pain, or we can let Him hold us in our pain.
What about you? Can you still believe that God loves you? Is He trustworthy? And if He is, can you trust Him with whatever situation you’re in right now? No matter how impossible, painful, or tragic?
I know you’d probably like me to answer that question for you, but I know someone who could answer better. Someone whose reach far extends my own, whose insight far outweighs mine, and whose love for you will last for all time.
Right here, right now, you can meet with God. If you’d like, I can make the introduction for you:
God, I’m hurting and wondering why. I’m scared, and I need you to help me with some things. I need to know: can I trust you, and do you still love me?
Go ahead, loved one. It’s just you and God now. Seize the moment, and I’ll leave you two to it.
Your miracle may be just around the corner.