Do We REALLY Trust God Completely? Really??
In the process of going through readings when I write, I usually start with New Testament content and end with Old Testament works. I suspect that it is part of my analytical mind at work… when trying to learn about something I’m not familiar with, I try reverse engineering by first looking with the most recent information and working backwards. My approach for today’s post deviated slightly and was difficult at first, but then, a wonderful sense of calm came upon me when I realized the tremendous God gift I received a few weeks ago. I hope my transparency in today’s writing doesn’t cast doubt on the intentions of my heart to know Jesus more and to be more like Him. I hope that you will forgive what appears to be hypocrisy on the surface… that I really did believe that I would turn to God in all circumstances, no matter what. Well… I know I still have some growing to do… and so did God. But, this loving God has a knack for sitting me down… one-on-one if necessary, to teach us even when we’re too busy focusing on the problem.
Recently, I had a chance to watch the movie Patch Adams… wonderful example of a man with a cause. In one scene, Patch portrayed by Robin Williams is seen speaking with a patient in a mental institution. The patient is consumed with asking other patients how many fingers he is holding up… each replying four and he gets rather upset because he thinks they are wrong. The patient tells Patch, “See what no one else sees, see what everyone chooses not to see, focus on the problem and you cannot see the solution, look beyond the fingers.” In response, Patch looks through the fingers at the patients face and is able to see eight fingers instead of four. One of the most important parts of science is the ability to think outside the box in order to arrive at solutions. In this case, Patch is able to look at a problem in a different way and arrives at a totally different solution. God chose to use my daughter to find out just how much I trusted Him or if my faith was based on shallow words. He chose to work through my daughter to see if I would focus on the problem rather than the solution in Him. I am here to confess that I’ve been speaking a good game… but God helped to address that… I just needed a good, hard KICK! He chose one of my precious assets to get my attention… let me explain…
One Friday night a few weeks ago, I received a call from my youngest daughter while I was away at a spiritual retreat some 4 hours away. My daughter sounded completely out of breathe… but she wasn’t out of breathe from running, she was having what the cardiologist called “a significant heart issue”. Her heart rate had soared to 165 beats per minute and she felt tremendous pressure in her chest. She was scared and alone in her place and I was 4 hours away… unable to do anything to get to my daughter. I did all I could do at the time… speak with her to help keep her calm until help arrived, but inside, I was a wreck. I was able to contact an ambulance to respond to her apartment and then got back on the phone with my daughter until medical personnel arrived. While speaking with her, I walked over to the church that was across from where I was staying. When I finally hung up with my daughter, I fell to the ground at the church alter and I broke down… asking God for a way to get back to my daughter. I got angry at God… saying that this was MY daughter and I was her father who could take care of her best. Just then, I heard voices in my mind… speaking horrible lies that I wasn’t a good father, that if God was really who He said He was, this wouldn’t be happening this way… after all, He put me in charge of taking care of my little girl.
I believe these voices I was hearing were those of the enemy… that by lashing out at God, the enemy knew of my faith struggle and had a perfect ‘in’ to claim another potential victim. Another soul lacking in faith… ME… big words, but when put to the test, I caved! I resorted to putting me first with an arrogance to proclaim that it was I who needed to take care of my little girl best, after all… she was MY daughter… I raised her. My priorities were all wrong!
During this time of waiting to know what was happening with my daughter, I began to think about negotiating with God. You know the routine… “God, if You help my child, I’ll stop doing x and do more of y.” WHAT a joke… I know now that God has a great sense of humor… he’s got ME in His life! Instead, I began to change my approach… I asked God to please take care of my daughter as she is mine, but she was His first and He can love and protect her in a way I can’t. Plus… I had no choice… I was 4 hours away… I was completely dependent on Him! And it was then that I could hear God speaking SO loud and clear! The message went something like Psalm 20… “Greg… don’t worry about your daughter… she will be fine… this event wasn’t about her as much as it was about YOU. I know you love her… but I made her. The more pressing issue is that you’ve claimed you trusted me for some time, that you love me… but do you really? Saying and doing are very different and you need to make up your mind as to what your approach is. Do you love Me enough to turn to Me for all things and in all things? It appears there needs to be some changes… some growth… what are you willing to do now?”
What are we willing to do for our God? Where is our faith? Do we/I have the kind of faith that instinctively calls out “Thank God” only when things seems to come out fine? Will I, as Casting Crowns proclaims, praise Him in the storm regardless of the outcome? This encounter was an awakening and a life lesson for me. My God loves me so intently that in ONE event, He was able to show me how to love my daughter more by trusting Him to care for her in a very difficult time. Additionally, that when we choose not to trust Him, the enemy has a direct path inside us to draw us further from the love of God which I believe is what hell is really about… separation from our God. But if we’re willing to trust Him, really trust Him in all things, He will stand against the enemy as that is what a father does best… protect and love his children (Psalm 21)! Failing to do so has its negative consequences as well (Jeremiah 44; Romans 6:23).
Heavenly Father… thank You for knowing and loving us so well, and yet, You extend unending grace upon us. As we grow, our hearts are to love You in a way you love us… that is our desire, but we often fall short. Help us to remain strong in faith and committed to Your Word for without You, life is nothing more than the here and now, with no prospect of joining you in paradise. Thank you also for stopping at nothing to teach us in love with whatever means You feel necessary that will lead to the most effective results… following You in all circumstances! Amen.
gstefanelli (Greg Stefanelli)