Posts tagged ‘trust’

Unfailing Love

Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.   Psalm 143:8

When I was a physician, I had two partners with whom I shared office expenses, and three additional physicians with whom I shared call. We worked well together. We had tense moments once a year when we mapped out the weekend call schedule for the next year, but otherwise there were very few disagreements. We got along well.

But when I sold my practice to the hospital, it became apparent that we had a relationship based upon mutual financial benefit and call coverage. We trusted each other to the extent that we benefited one another. I had spent the previous 9 months in negotiations with the hospital for the purchase of my practice. I had discussed my departure in detail with my partners 9 months before leaving. And then as I was on my way out of town, I received a phone call from one of my partners. After additional reflection, I was told that they felt I owed them an additional sum of money to cover their loss of revenue over the course of the next year due to my absence. 

As I think about that experience and compare it to my relationship with my children, I realize the depth and strength of unfailing love. Any financial arrangement I have ever made with any of my children, whether it be college expenses, cars, or gifts of various magnitude, they have all flowed out of an unfailing love for them. And I have received gratitude and love in return. There are times we have had tough conversations, but those were always to clarify what needed to be done out of love, and not what would be of most benefit to me. A father/child relationship is special and almost indescribable. As my children are adults today, each one of them is my friend, and yet still my child. Every interaction I have with them is motivated out of love for them. And I feel their love for me in return.

As I think of the contrast between the relationship I have experienced with my partners and with my children, I ask myself what kind of relationship do I have with my God? Have a partnered with Him for my benefit? Or am I in love with Him as His child? Do I see Him as my loving Father who would do anything for me, including have a tough conversation to show me the best path to take in life? Or do I simply want His money and goods so I can prosper on my own independent from Him?

When I read Psalm 143:8, I realize that my relationship with God should be based on trust and love. It is true in our earthly relationships, and it is true in our heavenly ones as well. I will follow God to the extent that I love Him. I will walk on His path as long as I trust Him. Love, my friends, is the basis of obedience. I can follow His path when the trials become nearly unbearable only when I trust and love Him. And so each morning I listen to God as I read His Word and sit quietly to hear His voice. That’s the only way I find that I can stay in love with Him. What do you do to stay in love with your God?

I Prayed in my Distress

In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free.  (Psalm 118:5)

It is time for me to get back to work! I have taken a few weeks away from my usual responsibilities to refocus on God’s plan for my life and find the best path forward to deal with my recurrent cardiac symptoms. As I have previously blogged, I found it very discouraging to face recurrent chest pain less than two years after bypass surgery. The easiest approach was to ignore my problem as I focused on the issues in the church. But this caught up with me when it became clear that my cardiac condition was only getting worse, and that it was affecting my relationship with God.

And so in my distress, I prayed to God. Such prayers, however, take time. Such a prayer requires specificity, reflection, and listening skills. There are times when 10 minutes each morning may be enough to stay connected with God. But I have discovered that I require much more time than that if I want to deal with my heart issues. When I take the time to open my heart up to Him, I find in Jesus a friend who loves my unconditionally and accepts me when I feel too flawed to be acceptable. When I take the time to pray in my distress, He takes the time to listen, ask questions, and point me in the right direction. 

We live at such a fast pace today that most of the time we don’t even realize we are in distress. When we do realize it, we rarely take the time to understand our distress. Where is it coming from? Why do we feel the way we do? What misbelief do we have that is preventing us from experiencing God’s peace? How can we overcome it? These are questions God answered for me when I prayed to Him in my distress. I simply needed to take the time to focus on God and seek His guidance.

God revealed to me the source of my distress. It wasn’t my chest pain. It was my belief that my self worth is tied to my physical health. So as my health deteriorated, this belief drove me to ignore my symptoms rather than face them. The emotional pain due to my misbelief was greater than the physical pain. But Jesus set me free as He corrected my misbelief. He assured me of His unconditional love. All it took was a willingness to voice my distress and listen to His response.

Distress is nothing more than an opportunity to experience peace and freedom in Jesus. All it takes is time with Jesus. We read in John 8:31-32, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'”

Are you abiding in His Word? Are you taking the time to pray in your distress? Are you willing to discover your misbeliefs and allow Jesus to set you free?

 

Perspectives Change When We Soar

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:30-31

Isaiah has been given a message of hope for God’s people. Israel has been taken captive by the Babylonians. They have been humiliated. They have lost hope. Their obstacles seem insurmountable. But through Isaiah, God tells them there is hope and that their obstacles can be opportunities for a fulfilling life. The problem has been that they have relied upon their own strength to get them over their obstacles. But even those who are young, strong, and full of energy will eventually become exhausted. It’s like the rider in the Tour de France who breaks away from the peloton (the entire field of riders who are working together) and rides all alone. He may gain a 10 minute advantage over the peloton, but riding alone takes its toll. Exhaustion sets in and the peloton catches up to allow those with fresher legs to win the race. 

It’s so tempting to go alone in life. Perhaps it’s because we become inpatient with God and refuse to wait on Him. Perhaps it’s because we feel strong and self-sufficient. Perhaps it’s because we simply want our own way even if we know it may not be right. After all, the break away rider in the Tour de France sometimes wins! Maybe I can too! But the reality is that break aways in real life are never successful. We can never make it alone. We were created to live in community with one another and communion with God. We can go it alone for a while, but we will never make it to the end without the Source of everlasting strength.

Rather than getting mired in my daily routine and the anxieties of life, with God’s power I can soar high on wings like eagles! Such imagery is very inspiring to me. I am currently in Alaska and have the opportunity to witness the power and grace of eagles. With seemingly little effort they soar in the sky, higher and higher. Their majesty is unparalleled. And so it it is with God’s power that He makes available to me when I trust Him enough to overcome my obstacles and turn them into opportunities. 

I have discovered anew in the past few weeks that when I wait on God, He supplies me with all the necessary strength, wisdom, and courage to soar far above any obstacle. It’s amazing how small a previously insurmountable obstacle becomes when you are soaring! I am now able to count it a privilege to have a heart condition that just a few weeks ago seemed hopeless. As God has lifted me on wings like eagles, He has given me a new perspective as He has taken me from one experience of grace to another and one victory to another. He adds His strength to my weakness and brings higher and higher goals into my vision. What seemed hopeless is now an exciting adventure. What seemed insurmountable is now a new frontier.

God invites each one of us to join Him for the ride of our lives. He invites us to soar through life. When we trust in Him, our perspective changes and our obstacles become exciting new opportunities.

 

Whom Do You Trust?

This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you. Don’t let him fool you into trusting in the Lord…  Isaiah 36:14-15

King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified cities of Judah and conquer them. He sent a message to the people of Judah that there was no way they could escape his army. And so he mocked their king and their God. 

Sennacherib believed in his own strength as do we most of the time.  In fact, we are taught from an early age to rely on ourselves. We study, work, and strive to achieve in our own strength. We too often believe willpower is the solution to our trials and temptations. We think the way to overcome the enemy is through white knuckling it. But God tells us to trust in Him, rely on His strength, believe in His word. It is the enemy who tells us to distrust God. 

In my journey to better physical health, I have found that as I lean into God, listen to His voice, and seek His will, He takes care of me. He replaces my desires with His desires. I don’t rely upon willpower to eat the foods that are best for my health, I desire this food. Just a few weeks ago I was living in despair as I felt my recurrent heart symptoms indicated a hopeless situation. As I have focused on God and experienced His deep love for me, my despair has turned to hope, and my weakness has turned to strength. God is the source of our hope and strength. 

It’s a simple message really – trusting God with my problems. So why is it so hard to hear this message and apply it in our lives? Why do we constantly insist upon doing life in our own strength? Perhaps we just think it’s too good to be true. Or we don’t know how to “let go.” But if we simply meditate daily on His grace, read His Word, and allow Him to fill our hearts and minds with His love, He will change our desires and supply us with strength.

What Role Does the Bible Play in Your Life?

You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:15

I was raised in the church and taught to read the Bible every day. This is great advice as it can certainly enhance one’s walk with God. The problem arises when I feel like I have to do this in order to be saved. Doing things to be saved does not save me, even doing good things like reading the Bible! And so when I read 2 Timothy 3:15 today, I was encouraged once again to focus on my real need in life – a relationship with Jesus.

Paul tells Timothy that he has been taught the Scriptures, knows the Scriptures, and has been given the Scriptures for one thing and one thing only. The role of Scriptures in Timothy’s life, and in our lives today, is for wisdom to receive the real focus in life – Jesus. The Scriptures were written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit for one purpose – to lead us into a trusting relationship with Jesus. Salvation is given to us by grace when we trust Jesus with our lives.

It’s so easy for us to make salvation about what the Bible teaches about death, the second coming, the judgment, the law, etc, etc, etc. What the Bible teaches gives us the wisdom for life replacing a selfish worldview with God’s worldview that then can help us accept salvation as we trust in Jesus. Once I grasped this reality, I began to love reading the Bible. As a kid, reading the Bible was something I had to do if I wanted to be a Christian. Today, reading the Bible is something I love to do because I feel closer to Jesus. When I read the Bible today, I hear God speaking to me. My trust in Jesus then grows.

However, the really amazing thing about God is that He reaches out to you differently than He reaches out to me. Some people have a close, abiding, trusting relationship with Jesus who read the Bible much less or much more than do I. So I have learned to keep my focus on Jesus and not on the amount of Bible reading that you do, or that I do. 

What role does the Bible play in your life? What wisdom does it provide for you? Is it part of your relationship with Jesus? Or is it just another rule you feel like you have to follow in order to be a Christian?

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