It was a wonderful weekend. We had nationally-known speaker and author Nancy Guthrie come to our church and speak on Trusting God. She told us of her journey to know God more and understand why He ordains suffering. She experienced terrible personal tragedy and wanted to know what His good purposes are when we suffer. We recorded the sessions and here is a link to our church website if you are interested in viewing them:

http://frontrangealliance.org/?wpv_sermons_category=trusting-god

But here’s something I realized again: NOT trusting God is a sure path to bitterness. For example, if I react to the hard things in life with anger at God, my anger will take me down that path. Remember my chart of the progression:ARB slide 1

Anger at someone is prompted by your belief that they should have done something they didn’t, or they did something you thought was wrong. It’s the same with God: if we believe He should have intervened and kept something from happening and He didn’t, we may become angry. Or we may rage that He did something we think was wrong. In both instances we are saying, “God, You are not righteous. You did not do what is good. Your way in the situation was not best.” We are placing ourselves above God.

In both Matthew and Mark we are told the story of how Peter argued with Jesus when He predicted His upcoming suffering and death. Peter told Jesus that those things would never happen, in other words, we will protect you! We won’t let the bad things happen. But Jesus rebuked him strongly:

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Matthew 16:23

I always thought this was rather a harsh rebuke for Peter’s well-intentioned concerns. After all, he wanted to protect Jesus from harm. What’s wrong with that? We could all use such a loyal and concerned friend, right?

But Jesus chastised him for having his mind set on human concerns. The Lord’s Prayer says “Let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Colossians 3:1-2 says we should set our minds on things above, not on earthly things. Jesus prayed in His darkest hour in Gethsemane for God’s will to be done, not His. We must remind ourselves of this often. We must submit to and trust Him because His ways are best.

After hearing Ms. Guthrie’s story, I wondered how I would react if terrible tragedy came upon me or my family. What if I received a scary diagnosis or my husband or children were taken suddenly from me? What if we were plunged into financial ruin or a fire or tornado swept away everything we own? What would I cling to?Nancy Guthrie said the two things that helped her to get through were the unshakable beliefs that #1 God is sovereign over all and #2 He loves me.Give.thanks

Those two beliefs must be held together, because if God is only sovereign but doesn’t love me, He may be cruel or unkind. If God only loves me but isn’t sovereign, He is helpless to do anything or make the circumstances work together for good in His greater plan. So I must believe both. I must trust Him to be good and do what is best, even if it seems unbearably difficult.

Corrie Ten Boom was a saint who suffered under the Nazis during WWII. After the war she spent her life ministering to others and one of her favorite object lessons was a needlepoint picture. She showed the back side, a tangled mess of colors and threads going every which way. It was unrecognizable as anything from that viewpoint. But when you turned it around, it was a beautiful picture of a majestic crown. Her point was that Jesus is weaving together the threads of our lives and we can’t see what the final picture will be but that we must trust Him with the results. Hearing this from someone who watched her beloved sister sicken and die in a concentration camp is truly powerful.

psalm62-8

May I always believe and trust Him, our good, kind, loving Father.