We Christians like to talk about trusting God a lot. Christians who are facing some uncertainty about the future are often told, “trust God” or some pretty similar variant of the idea. Applied rightly, it is good and biblical advice. However, I think it is often a bit more complicated than those deceptively simple words would make it sound. If the answer is “trust God”, I think we need to ask a second question. That question is, “Trust God to do and be what?”
I thought I was doing pretty well at the whole trusting God thing. I suppose I was doing well if the trust we are talking about was trusting God to be my heavenly personal assistant who does all the hard work of making sure things happen pretty much according to my plans! Although I wasn't thinking this way about every area, I realized for some things in life my trust in God was based on the assumption he was going to give me what I wanted.
Maybe God’s will and mine will match up on some things. I hope that happens! It is true that often God does give us the desires of our hearts (see Psalm 37:4). It isn’t bad to ask him for specific things that we need or want. (see Matthew 7:9-11 & Philippians 4:6) He’s our father and we can go to him about anything big or small.
But ultimately, our trust shouldn’t be that God will make life work out according to our plans. He isn’t our heavenly personal assistant. It is a pretty shallow form of trust that risks making what we are after our idol that we are using God to get. It sets us up for massive disappointment when it becomes evident that God’s will looks different to ours. It also sets us up for frustration when we see other people getting what was in the plan we had for ourselves!
Instead, we must trust God to be God and for his will to be done rather than ours. We must trust that God knows what he is doing infinitely more than we do. He is God and we are not! We must trust that even when things don’t play out according to our plans that God is working everything together for good (see Romans 8:28). We must be as willing to trust him when he hasn’t been giving us what we want as when he has.
I’m preaching to myself here. This has been a hard thing to learn. It is challenging to pray, “God, I really want ………….., but I trust that you are bigger and wiser than I am. Regardless of whether things turn out the way I wanted them, I trust that you are in control and that your will is good.” Placing things in his hands like that is scary sometimes, but he is worthy of that kind of trust.