Here’s a question I’ve been asked many times, by many different people. The words I am going to use are a paraphrase as each individual who shares their hearts with me uses their own language for their particular situations; yet the questions are often very similar when you break them down.
The question is: how do I trust God when I don’t know what He is going to do?
There are many expressions of church and theology that attempt to tell us definitely that God will make things better if we trust. I think the problem with this is not that what they are saying is untrue, it’s that our definitions of “better” may not line up with our experiences.
The truth is I cannot trust God to do what I want Him to do. Really, what I am saying is, I can’t control God and in the midst of suffering I want to do exactly that more than anything else. And yet, God seems to be completely unmoved by this powerful urge within me. Now when I say the word “unmoved” I don’t mean that God does not show me empathy or compassion.
Here’s what I’ve observed about the way God deals with my definition of “better” when faced with a trial or struggle. God seems to invite me to let go of it. He invites me to lay down my desire and my longings for relief and hope and find good in what actually exists – even when it really sucks!
I’m saying God actually desires me to get better, not just feel better. And so in very God-like fashion, rather than simple relief, God invites me into the depths of the trial to discover my part, my place, and my belonging in Him – with others – in myself.
So, how can I trust God when I don’t know what She is going to do? This is where the paradox will continue to exist. I cannot trust Him to make the situation better based upon my definitions; but I have also learnt that I can trust Him and that He will change the situation based upon His definitions of better. Which in the end, I hope I’ll look back and say, “I’m better, too.”