Very timely for me in this season… bless you
for all the pain we encounter and still believe in a good God? I’m put off by Christians who resolve the issue by affirming,
is good!” when the evidence suggests something else.
of life is about learning to know and trust God. Most of my life, I’ve
only known him from a distance. We’ve been like the couple in the movie
Say Anything, waving at each other across the room at the party.
In 1990, I lost my job and was betrayed by two close friends. My
world fell apart. God forced my hand. He had to destabilize me in order
to woo me, so that I might know him and eventually trust him.
At the time, it didn’t feel like grace. I felt wounded and wretched
and wanted to die. I had no language to sort through the shards of my
life. I was so absolutely shattered and discombobulated that God was all
I had left – I had no where left to turn. Ultimately, I sought him like
a hungry animal looking for food. And he responded with tenderness. It
was a long and terrible process, but it proved the reality of Jer. 29:13
– “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with your whole
my wounds. A lot of people get stuck asking, “Why?” – bowing down at
the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil instead of bowing at the Tree
of Life and worshiping. Read the end of the book of Job. God “is who he
is.” He doesn’t have to answer to us.
until we cross over to the other side of eternity. So many people get
hung up in No-man’s Land – demanding an explanation instead of choosing
to trust a God who loves us and has the bigger picture.
Yesterday I caught up with a friend who was going through the same
process, “I feel so raw,” she said. “I’ve spent so much time crying and
asking questions.” She described it as a wilderness time.
It’s taking my friend a couple of years to find her way out of the
wilderness – about what it took for me. Why God lets it take so stinkin’
long, I don’t know. I guess he figures it took us a long time to get
into that mess and become thoroughly self- sufficient. Getting out of
the mess, to be gracious, needs to proceed at an organic pace that
allows us to grow into our new skins.
We don’t get to know people overnight and trusting them deeply takes
longer. It takes years to develop a second sense about them, to
understand why they do what they do. And God is the same way. He takes
Learning to trust God seems to require learning to stop relying on
yourself so much. It means radical change at our core. Most of us don’t
like change of any kind, much less surgery on our core self. Surgery
hurts; it incapacitates and can even make us howl with pain.
God, the divine surgeon, is worth trusting. He loves us more than we
can know. His wounding seems grievous, but it restores us to wholeness.
If you find yourself under his knife, be still and learn to trust him.
will laugh again.
Dad, I always love it when you share your personal struggles or that of others on this narrow way. Not because I seek to validate my own struggles (which I do anyway) but for your insightful perspectives that leads seekers into the light without fear.
You said, “Getting out of the mess, to be gracious, needs to proceed at an organic pace that allows us to grow into our new skins.” But we are in a hurry!!!
This generation is searching for answers, for reality and authenticity in God’s people. Sir, your ten cents here is worth a million dollars.
Thanks Seth. You know I respect and love you. Just saying…
An article in this month’s Christianity Today really spoke to me on this. I too have had major disappointments, betrayals, and failures with the consequent despair/depression leading to questions of “where were you God when…”, “if you loved me, why did you allow…”, etc.
The reminder I needed was that it’s in Jesus that we see the full character of God. It was way too easy to set myself up as judge and jury of a God who conforms to my image of what He must be like – subject to my “systematic theology”. When I see Jesus and how He dealt with people, how He loved, how He had compassion, and how He loved enough to die for us (and me) sinners, then I find it much easier to trust God to be like Jesus. In that, I find it is much easier to suspend my need to understand the “why’s” and trust in the goodness of God as evidenced and walked out by Jesus. This to me was such a fitting reminder during Holy Week.
This post could not have come at a better time for me. It spoke directly to where I’m at right now. It gave me a beautiful reminder that while I may not be able to see what God is doing right now, or why He’s taking so long, He does. And that’s all I need to know. Thank you!
Thanks for your article.
I just finished praying through some crisis in the family, and some how i came to this blog again after I had asked God to show me wisdom, and your article describes my current situation –
God is destabilizing me and he wants me to seek him with all my heart.
Thanks very much for the encouragement.
I have known your blog for more than 4 years now and it is honest and true and I thank God for sending you to me.
God bless you always Seth!
“One of the things that helped me is that I chose not to blame God for my wounds.”
A critical point and one that has also helped me.
To those who have commented – thanks for the encouragement. Our hearts need encouragement if we are to keep trusting. I need it just like anyone else. I wish I didn’t, but I do.
This was so helpful thanks for posting.
I’ve been going through change the last few years. At the end of 2009, I was diagnosed with anxiety and then I experienced a mild seisure — epilepsy. I lost my job which afforded me medical insurance at the beginning of 2010. COBRA was subsidized and I was able to find contract work. Then, COBRA ran out, I had no job and unemployment wasn’t enough. I found another job that did not pay enough and loss my house to foreclosure. Loss after loss it seemed. And my anxiety levels, up and down!
But things have worked out. I get my meds from the pharma companies right now. And, when I have to go to the doctor, I tell them I have no inusrance and I pay the self pay rate. Right now, I am working another contract and the pay is good. I should have time to get my finances back in order and look for another home. I’m still in my house while it is up for short-sale.
This whole experience has gotten me so fed up, I want to return to grad school for a PhD in Political Science and teach college!
In all of this, I know that God is the Great I AM. He just “IS.” He is good. He exist. Hebrews says that we must beleive that he exist and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Prior to that, the writer of Hebrews defines faith for us.
Like you said: “We don’t get to know people overnight and trusting them deeply takes longer. It takes years to develop a second sense about them, to understand why they do what they do. And God is the same way. He takes time.”
I have no idea why I’ve had to experience this loss of health and loss of finances and my home. But I know that God “IS” and it will take time for me to learn to trust Him in all things and for all things. Maybe it’s all about getting me to grad school.
great worlds. a joy to read.
thanks for sharing. sounds like it hasn’t been an easy ride. It’s great that you are trusting God in the midst of it.
It’s funny that you referred to Job in this. I just referred somebody to that book today.
Whenever I find myself struggling with things in life that don’t make sense, and I start asking the question “Why God?”, I turn to Job 38 and read to the end. And then I remember, “Oh yeah. You’re THAT guy! And I’m me”. It usually changes my perspective and my attitude even though the circumstances haven’t changed a bit.
To trust God is simply our ability to choose to be active while at the same time doing nothing. It’s a paradox of love. We have an innate need to participate in this design of life and Oneness with God but we must avoid the temptation of control. Thus, why Trust is so unique and necessary. It gives us the opportunity to participate without being in control.
The greatest temptation the Devil uses against us within our ego is the temptation to understand. The attempt to use logic to explain the infinite. It simply doesn’t make sense when we truly think about it. It’s simply our instinctual ego’s attempt at control. Trust is the intentional ability to overcome the greatest temptation by simply letting go of trying to understand and instead to simply BE – trusting God’s love even through the depths of our struggles and pain.
As simple as this sounds, it’s the hardest thing to do because trusting God causes us to be in constant conflict with ourselves, due to the ego being the instinctual ruler within us – constantly feeding us the temptation to control and to question God.
God knows we deal with this and thus why He is so patient and forgiving of us. All He wants is for us to constantly get back up when we have fallen and attempt to trust Him again. Over time, hopefully we get back up quicker and quicker in trust till hopefully one day ideally trust just becomes a reaction, rather than an intention. When that happens, we then have become One with God in trust.
This is all He asks of us, to trust Him without trying to understand. For it’s the only way to overcome the Devil within all of us. One simple act God asks of us, to trust Him unconditionally, and He will take care of the rest in His infinite love…
God bless all of you on this site. 🙂
“My world fell apart. God forced my hand. He had to destabilize me in order to woo me, so that I might know him and eventually trust him.
At the time, it didn’t feel like grace. I felt wounded and wretched and wanted to die. I had no language to sort through the shards of my life. I was so absolutely shattered and discombobulated that God was all I had left – I had no where left to turn.”
This is where life begins. At least it did for me.
This is the dark night of the soul that becomes a watershed experience in life.
The level of hunger that brings a person to this place is uncommon.
“Many are called. Few are chosen.”
Why? Because few say, “Yes.”
Your surgery analogy resonates deeply.
I have long observed that most people want a superficial facelift, when it comes to their inner persona. When what is needed is radical surgery.
It takes guts and courage to climb up on that altar and submit to the divine surgeon’s knife.
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
Great post, Seth.
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