Do you ever struggle to trust God? Do you ever wonder whether He is really kind? Do you struggle with doubts that maybe He hyasn’t seen… Or He doesn’t care… Or He isn’t as good as you’re supposed to believe He is? I sure do!
Over the past few days, the Lord has been helping me to see something: it actually grieves Him when I don’t trust Him; when I live in fear because I think He won’t be kind… or I think He does not care enough. It hurts His heart when I live in fear that He will be cruel, or indifferent, or remiss.
I belong to God through Jesus. My sins have been forgiven because I have turned from my sin and believed in Christ. Yes, before I was forgiven, there was reason to fear the wrath of a holy God- not because He is cruel but because He is wonderfully, gloriously pure and good. But He is so kind; so gracious… that He gave His own Son to buy the forgiveness I don’t deserve. I am forgiven now. He is for me, and He wants to do me good!
‘What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?’ Romans 8:31
The other night, He tenderly showed me that it hurts Him when I don’t trust Him. It was so gentle: not so much like a rebuke as like a hug! It grieves Him when I don’t trust Him… because I really can trust Him, and He wants me to know that, and to rest in His awesome, tender, incredible, life-changing love!
He helped me to look back to the past; times of such tender protection and provision… Times of impeccable timing… That could only come from such tender, caring, unbelievably wonderful love.
- When I was so sad, and only God knew, and suddenly a friend engulfed me in a surprise hug.
- When some news was coming that I wasn’t expecting and I didn’t want… and everyone else knew but me… and, by chance, though I was around everyone, I didn’t find out until days later, when I was ready to take it.
- When He led my friends and I to the perfect house to rent, complete with all sorts of little blessings and details that only He could engineer.
And a thousand other examples.
The other night, I picked up a book: ‘Communion with God’, by John Owen (Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1991). I used to love it years ago, and it’s been sitting on my shelf. I began to read, and it was such a tender confirmation of the same lesson. I’ll share some quotes with you, because they’re just so wonderful!
“Many dark and disturbing thoughts arise to hinder our walk with God. Few can rise to the height of the Father’s love by faith, so as to rest their souls in his love. They live far below it in the troublesome region of hopes and fears, storms and clouds. Abiding in the Father’s love, all is peace and quiet. But how to rise up to the height of the Father’s love they do not know. It is God’s will that he should always be seen as gentle, kind, tender, loving and unchangeable. It his will that we see him as the Father, and the great fountain and reservoir of all grace and love.”
Owen, J. (1991).Communion with God. ed: Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, p.16-17
“Why, then, this foolishness? Why are we afraid to have good thoughts of God? Is it too hard to think of God as good, gracious, tender, loving and kind?” p32, ibid
Actually, it’s our enemy who wants us to think hard thoughts of God.
God longs to bless His people… abundantly.
(Actually, He longs to bless everyone, but only those who come to Him through Jesus place themselves under that ultimate blessing).
“It is a love which fills God with desires to do good and great things to and for us.” p 21, ibid
“He that loves desires only to do good to the object of his love.” p22, ibid
As Scripture says,
’17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.’ James 1:17
Those who know Him; who live close to Him; can live in peace and joy, surrounded by His love.
“The saints… are sweetly wrapped up in the love of their Father.” p36, ibid
‘8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy
9 He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.’ Psalm 103:8-14
And He is so very, very kind. He loves to provide for His children… abundantly.
I was talking to Him the other day about what difference it would make if I trusted Him more. And suddenly I realised something: I would relax! I would stop fretting so much! I would enjoy the blessings of today more without worrying about the potential problems of tomorrow!
I would relax.
I would still work hard. I would still throw myself into the duties of today; into loving others; into seeking His Kingdom first. But I would do it with a lot less angst- because it is so unnecessary!
One day, I was fretting about something. I was talking to God about it, but I was still pretty knotted up. And then I found a packet of Love Hearts in my bag, which I had been given. I opened the package and took out the first one. It said, ‘Relax’. And I knew it was from God, encouraging me not to worry so much!
I remember when I began reading one of my favourite children’s books, Pollyanna, by Eleanor H. Porter.
I opened to the part where a pastor is deeply troubled by a perplexing problem. He is going over it, over and over again, trying to solve it… but he can’t.
In walks little Pollyanna, and she knows something is wrong. She doesn’t know the answer, but she shares something with him: something her pastor father taught her to do: Rejoice!! There are so many exhortations in the Bible to do so!
So he does. He doesn’t know the answer yet, but he is beginning to have a joyful change of perspective.
Soon afterwards, he works out what to do.
Porter, E. (1994). Pollyanna. ed. Ware: Wordsworth Editions Ltd. (p181-190)
What a lesson: even before the problem is solved, remember Who your Father is! He’s got it covered! You can relax… and you can even rejoice! Yes, there may be tears this side of Heaven. But He is good. We can trust His heart, and His ultimate desire to do His children good.
What is behind all this?
His heart of love. His heart of kindness and mercy. His heart of love, that I can actually, truly trust… Because He really is trustworthy. Because He really is kind. Because He does over and above all that I could ask or imagine, over and over and over again.
Because that’s just what He is like.
Because He really, truly is love. 🙂
(He longs to pour His love upon you, too, in forgiveness and mercy through Jesus. If you never have before, come to Him and tell Him you’re sorry for things that hurt Him. Receive the forgiveness that is freely available through Jesus. Give your life back to Him as your loving Lord and King. He longs to receive you in His wonderful, tender, eternal love).
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.