Trust in God. It’s easy for me to say, but not so easy to do, or even to hear. We know that’s what we’re supposed to do, but what happens when that trust seems to have been broken? God is always faithful. He can always be trusted. The problem we have is that we place our trust in an ideal god rather than the real God. When He doesn’t perform according to our expectations, our faith can be shaken.
We’re told that He loves us. We’re told that He is all-powerful. These things are true. We assume from these facts that He must act as we would if we were omnipotent and loved someone. This is where we go wrong.
In the first place, our understanding of love is imperfect. Love is one of God’s defining attributes (1 John 4:8).) We will never comprehend the depth of it. We have no right to attempt to define it for Him. What we know of it has been given to us by Him, but our finite nature and the presence of sin prevent us from knowing it fully.
Another problem with this assumption is that we are not all-knowing. We cannot predict the future. He doesn’t need to guess. He knows it. All we can do is speculate, and that often does more harm than good. From my own life I can tell you that I could never have imagined the series of events that brought me to where I am today. I cannot say that I do not have doubts, but I trust Him more than ever now, because I have seen what He has done.
The definition of tragedy is at least somewhat subjective. I do not think of myself as having experienced that much of it, though others might reasonably do so. At least one episode I brought on myself. It would not have occurred to me that God would choose to make something good out of that. In fact it is His willingness to take even my error and use it for His glory that has done more than anything else to build my trust in Him.
But all these words become mockery when sitting across a hospital room from a sick or dying patient. What comfort can they be to the woman who is losing her husband or the parents who are losing their child? What do they mean to the family who has lost all they own in a disaster? These are the questions I find myself facing with increasing frequency as I function in a pastoral roll. Sometimes the words even ring a little hollow to me as I watch my own wife slowly declining as Multiple Sclerosis steels her vitality.
Ultimately trust in God is a matter of the heart. We can faithfully share our personal testimonies and the life in His Word, but time and the work of the Holy Spirit will produce the fruit. We can only plant the seeds. Why things happen I dare not speculate. Maybe if my own trust were as strong as I would like to think, I would know what to say, but my words seem just as empty to me. I am left with only one option. I still must trust Him. If I should say anything at all, that is all I can offer. It is enough. May we all come to know it.