I recently heard somebody talk about trusting Jesus in a way that was meaningful for me. He said that when somebody is smarter than me and trying to help me, I should trust them.
I actually do this all the time in life. For instance: I'm terrible with directions. No sense of where I'm at or where I'm going. Fortunately, I have Google Maps on my phone. Google Maps is very good at knowing where I am and how to get to where I'm going. So I listen to it. In the rare cases where I don't have GPS available, I listen to my wife. She has a very good sense of direction.
Early in our marriage, before GPS devices were common, I would (foolishly) question or doubt her guidance in navigating. I quickly learned that I should not argue with her, but listen to her and trust her since she was smarter than I was and she was trying to help me. (I'm only saying this in regards to directions, but there are also other places where she's smarter than I am).
Likewise when I go to a doctor. I listen to what he or she tells me because they are better educated on medical matters and they are trying to help me.
How much more should I apply this to Jesus? Jesus knows more that I do, and Jesus is always trying to help me, so I should go ahead and listen to him.
When life doesn't make sense and God isn't explaining it all to me, I should trust.
When I read something in the scriptures that seems unreasonable, I should trust.
When I desperately try to honor God with my actions, but everything is still in the crapper, I should trust.
Even if I no longer have hope in my life, I should still trust.
There are a couple practical ways I try to trust Jesus in my life: Praying and reading the scriptures.
When I was younger, I thought that prayer and reading the bible were essentially favors I did for God. God wanted me to do these things, and when I did, it made him happy. The reverse was also apparently true: when I slacked off on reading or praying or fasting or going to church, God was disappointed, offended, maybe even mad.
I mean, come on, Jesus died for me and I can't even carve out 10-20 minutes in a given day to do him a solid? Maybe even fast once in awhile?
I have come to understand that my viewpoint was way off base.
Prayer and scripture reading and fasting and attending church aren't about doing God a favor or fulfilling an obligation. When I engage in them, I'm doing myself a favor.
I'm reminding myself to trust that God has a plan as I see the narrative leading from creation to the Salvation of the Messiah, and the promise of all things being made new.
Likewise with prayer. Often, my prayer life can become a grocery list of perceived needs. I had a Rabbi this week tell me that every Jewish prayer service has a time to submit requests to God, except the service on the Sabbath. On the Sabbath, the people rest and so does God. Asking God to do a bunch of work runs counter to that.
I loved what she had to say. Sometimes, I think sometimes I need to give God a break from all my requests. (Yes, I'm familiar with the persistent widow parable. But I think it needs to be understood in the light of the rest of scripture.)
Prayer helps me to remember where I am placing my trust: in a God that cares about me and loves me. I reorient myself away from my own wants/desires/control and toward God instead.
Can I be honest for a minute? The last year of my life has been pretty difficult. I've had to look for ideas and concepts to keep my sanity.
One of the things I've focussed on comes from the famous Corinthian love passage: "Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love."
I'm not very in touch with my emotions, but I love God as best I can.
Hope has become too painful in my life because I confuse it easily with creating my own expectations, so I'm trying to stop doing that. I call this the Shawshank protocol.
I equate faith with trust. Trust is essentially the last thread left that I'm holding onto. Trust that even though I can't make heads or tails of the path of my life over the last year, God is good and that everything happening is part of his good plan for me, my family, the church and this world.
I feel like I'm out in the boonies and my GPS just keeps telling me to go straight ahead. It doesn't make sense and I can't image that any worthwhile destination is out here, but I can either trust that the GPS is doing what it's supposed to do or not.
God is obviously much greater than some little navigation computer.
As long as I can trust that God cares about me, I'm going to be okay.
I'm sure everyone has seasons like this in life, so if you're also in one, join me in holding onto trust because Jesus is smarter than we are and he is always trying to help us.