In light of the frustrating circumstances of past weeks, it's a question I've struggled with. As person after well-meaning person quotes Romans 8:28 to me and tells me that I just need to trust and God will show me the good, I've tried to get a grip on exactly what it means to trust God.
I found a copy of Brennan Manning's Ruthless Trust that I had inherited from my sister and decided to read it. Wow. It wasn't what I expected at all. No well-worn cliches, no "don't-worry-be-happy" Christianity in those pages. At times it's confrontational. At other times it's raw and almost too honest. There are moments of comfort, moments of challenge . . . it's not an easy read but it's worth every difficult page turn!
I found myself underlining passages that jumped off the page at me. Since completing the book, I keep going back to those underlined passages. For the next few (several?) blog entries, I will be sharing these quotes and the impact they have had.
"Our trust does not bring final clarity on this earth. It does not still the chaos or dull the pain or provide a crutch. When all else is unclear, the heart of trust says, as Jesus did on the cross, 'Into your hands I commit my spirit'. (Luke 23:46)" I cannot begin to tell you what a comfort this verse was. Trusting God does not mean I deny the pain or difficulty. So many people have intimated, using Romans 8:28 as their support, that if I just look hard enough I will find the good in any circumstance. But if I can look and find the good on my own, why do I need to trust God?
It is only when I throw myself into the arms of my Abba that I am truly trusting. When I seek to find "clarity" (which Manning paints as the enemy of trust) or to find the good in every situation I face, I remove God from the picture. When I know that I cannot figure it out or even survive it on my own, when I run stumbling and crying to Him, it is then that I begin to trust.
I'm learning that trust does not deny the pain of the circumstance. It isn't a Pollyanna-like approach to life in which we insist that there is a bright side to everything. Trust is, at it's core, an honest assessment of the situation and an absolute refusal to allow those circumstances to change my view of God. And when those circumstances drive me to a place where the only thing that is sure in my life is God's love for me, I can rest fully in that love - then I am beginning to learn how to trust.