Friday, January 27, 2006

Trusting God

A friend of mine emailed me this snippet from someone's blog. I don't know where it came from, so I can't give proper credit. However, it got me to thinking about how often people misunderstand the concept of "trusting God".

I am struggling right now. I am wrestling with something that has seem to become the predominate factor in my life. Apparently through all of my 'training' I have picked up this bad habit of thinking that God is a God of reason. I constantly try to understand God. I try to relate to Him through the avenue of my intellect. A relationship with God is NOT an intellectual journey. It does involve your intellect, but only as a secondary mechanism to enhance your experience and better value God and His choices for your life. Not as a way to follow Him or get to know Him.
O. Chambers 'The hindrance is that I will not trust God, but only my mental understanding.' Well, what happens when you don't have any mental understanding? You end up so confused and your faith is so shaky, because you don't 'get it.' Our faith and trust in God must be found in a relational way that remains solid with and without intellectual understanding or emotional persuasion. God does not come to us and attempt to convince us of the way to go in such a way that the reason overwhelms us and we KNOW that that is the way to go. No, He comes to us and whispers to us what we need to do. Our choice is then to follow that or remain safe, secure, bored and frustrated with our lives, because we don't UNDERSTAND.

My response:

I suppose it's somewhat arrogant of me to say I know a thing or two about faith and trusting God. But I can't help but cringe when people start throwing around the term "trusting God" like it's some kind of magical solution for their problems. What does that term mean to you? Is it just some Christian thing we say to sound pious? Or is it just mysticism camoflauged as devotion?

If I say God told me to do X, then I have reason to trust God to help me accomplish X. Or if God promised me something, then I can trust Him to fulfill that promise. That's faith in action. Read Romans 4. And that's consistent with reason and good thinking. Why? Because even when we can't understand the circumstances, we can understand and reason that God is capable of doing what He said He would do. However, if you are going through a hard time, and all you can think of to do is "trust God", then what exactly are you trusting Him for? Yes, this does seem antithetical to reason and good thinking, and that's because it fails even to use good common sense about assigning responsibility to your own actions and how to face adversity. If we are going through hard times because of our own actions and failure to make good decisions, are we simply going to "trust God" to get us out of our mess?

And I disagree with the idea that trusting God is antithetical to positive emotions. In fact, it is my trust in God to do what He said that buoys my emotions through difficult times. Without that hope and trust, I would be an emotional wreck!! Also, when God tells me to do what I know is right, that doesn't make me feel awful, it makes me feel good, and that is positive emotional persuasion. I can be encouraged by others in Christ to do the right things and trust God and that is positive emotional persuasion. I find the idea of emotional detachment from spirituality a disturbing perspective in modern Christianity. The Psalms are reinforcement of the idea that emotions enhance our spirituality. More than once David tells his soul (emotions) to rejoice in the knowledge (reason) of the things that God has done for him already and the things He will do for him. How can you then say trusting in God should involve neither?

I think too often evangelical/charismatic Christians get too spooky about understanding how to "trust God" and reduce it to some kind of magical formula that is written in Christianese. Too often the formula doesn't work and it's because it fails to give God the credit for being an intellectual, reasoning, and emotional God who created humans in his likeness: intellectual, reasoning, and emotional beings capable of making good decisions about who He is and what He wants in our lives.

1 comment:

rockabye said...

very well said. Thanks!