By Galen C. Dalrymple
Trustfulness and trustworthiness are like two sides of a coin. You cannot really have one without the other. What good is it to be trustful if the person trusted is not trust-worthy? After that person has failed to deliver on his promises once or twice, it would be illogical to continue trusting, would it not?
Fortunately, we will never find that God is untrustworthy, or that God can only be trusted on some occasions, with some matters. God is changeless, and his character is true throughout. If He is trustworthy even once, in one thing, then you know that you can trust Him always and in everything. He is the great I AM, the God who "does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:17).
All of the Boxers who have been a part of our family over the years -- from Ramses the Great to Heidi the Loving and all the way back to Daisy the Iron-Boweled -- have been completely trustful. Even our current Boxer, Casper the Unpigmented, trusts that I will care for him, feed him, and give him water. Although I have never asked him, I strongly suspect that Casper has never awoken in the middle of the night in a cold sweat at the possibility that I would stop taking care of him. This is not because I have never forgotten to fill his food or water bowls. But Casper knows my heart in the strange way that animals do. He knows that I would never hurt him, and that he can trust me to care for him. Even though he dislikes our trips to the veterinarian, he looks at me with mournful brown eyes that say, "Okay, I don't understand this, but I trust that you're doing what is best."
Often, the lessons we learn from our pets are intellectually simple -- and yet extraordinarily difficult in practice. I have to ask myself: do I know the heart of God as well as my dogs have known the heart of their master? I have read and studied and pondered the character of God -- but do I really know God's character? Sometimes our actions show what our words conceal. Do my actions show that I am sincerely trustful, that I truly consider God trustworthy?
Look at it this way. If I, or you, truly and completely trusted God, how would my life or your life look different? Would we lay awake night after night, anxious over how the bills will be paid, whether our children will be safe, or what our professional futures might bring? Would we let our anxieties weigh down our hearts and trouble our relationships? Would we try so hard to control all of the details of our lives, to protect ourselves from every possible danger and discomfort and disappointment?
If we find ourselves doing these things, perhaps we do not trust God as much as we claim. Perhaps we do not know God's heart as well as we should -- for if we knew God's heart, then we would know that He works all things to good for those who love him (Romans 8:28).
So let us pray for hearts that simply rest in the trustworthiness of God. When God takes us to get some "medicine," let us look to Him and trust that He is doing what is best. God is the only One in heaven or in earth who is fully and completely trustworthy. Will I be trustful?
Further installments in the "Lessons My Dog Taught Me" series will appear each Monday at the Evangelical Portal.
Galen Dalrymple pastors Vineyard Hills Christian Church, a non-denominational Evangelical church in the wine country of California. His daily meditations, Daybreaks, are received by readers all over the country.
11/18/2009 5:00:00 AM